Testosterone Improves Quality Of Life In Men With AIDS Wasting Syndrome

July 01, 1998

A research team based at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has found that testosterone administration significantly increases lean body mass and improves the quality of life in men with AIDS wasting syndrome. The AIDS wasting syndrome is a devastating complication of late-stage HIV infection, characterized by an extreme loss of lean muscle mass, leading to significant fatigue and frailty. The report appears in the July 1 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

"This is an important new therapy for patients with AIDS wasting syndrome. Physicians now will have a important tool to help build critically needed muscle mass and improve overall well being in men with AIDS wasting syndrome," said Steven Grinspoon, MD, of the MGH Neuroendocrine Unit, who led the study.

Fifty-one HIV-positive men aged 34 to 50 partipated in the study; they were selected because they had significant weight loss and low testosterone levels. Participants were randomly assigned to receive injections of either testosterone or a placebo every three weeks for six months. Injections were designed to produce normal testostone levels in those receiving the hormone.

Compared with the placebo group, those who received testosterone had signficant term benefit," he explains. "We believe all male patients with AIDS wasting syndrome should be screened for hormone deficiency and given testosterone if their levels are low, unless there is a medical reason not to do so."

The research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health. Grinspoon's co-authors include Anne Klibanski, MD, director of the MGH Neuroendocrine Unit and Colleen Corcoran, ANP, also of the MGH Neuro-endocrine Unit; David Schoenfeld, PhD; Douglas Hayden, MA; Ellen Anderson, MS, RD; Kristen Parlman, MSPT; and Nesli Basgoz, MD, also of the MGH; Hasan Askari, MBBS, of Washington University of St. Louis; Lisa Wolf, RN, of the Joslin Diabetes Center; Belton Burrows, MD, and Mark Walsh, MS, of the Boston VA Medical Center.

Massachusetts General Hospital

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