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Testosterone Therapy For Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Positive Men With and Without Hypogonadism

Rabkin, Judith G. PhD, MPH; Wagner, Glenn J. PhD; Rabkin, Richard MD

Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology: February 1999 - Volume 19 - Issue 1 - p 19-27

This study was designed to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of testosterone therapy for clinical symptoms of hypogonadism (low libido, low mood, low energy, loss of appetite/weight) in human immunodeficiency virus-positive men with CD4 cell counts less than 400 cells/mm3 and deficient or low normal serum testosterone levels.

The trial consisted of 8 weeks of open treatment with 400 mg of intramuscular testosterone cypionate biweekly.Responders were maintained at this dosage for another 4 weeks and then were randomized in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, 6-week discontinuation trial. Of the 112 men who completed at least 8 weeks of treatment, 102 (91%) were rated as responders on a global assessment of sexual desire/function. Of the 34 study completers with major depressive disorder and/or dysthymia, 79% reported significant improvement in mood at week 8. Average weight change was a gain of 3.7 pounds, with 45% gaining more than 5 pounds. Eighty-four men entered and 77 completed the double-blind phase; of these, 78% of completers randomized to testosterone and 13% randomized to placebo maintained their response. No significant medical or immunologic adverse effects were identified. Testosterone therapy was well tolerated and effective in ameliorating symptoms of clinical hypogonadism, and equally so for men with and without testosterone deficiency. For patients with major depression and/or dysthymia, improvement was equal to that achieved with standard antidepressants. (J Clin Psychopharmacol 1999;19:19-27)

New York State Psychiatric Institute and Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York

Received October 8, 1997; accepted after revision May 1, 1998.

Address requests for reprints to: Judith G. Rabkin, PhD, New York State Psychiatric Institute, 1051 Riverside Drive, Unit 51, New York, NY 10032. Address e-mail to:

© 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.