Testosterone replacement therapy can help slow the progression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in men, a new study shows.
Men with COPD tend to experience shortness of breath, leading physicians to prescribe them long-term steroid-based medications. While these medications help treat pulmonary symptoms, they are also associated with testosterone dysfunction.
Accordingly, previous studies have shown that men with COPD have low testosterone levels, which could lead to a worsening of the condition.
“Previous studies have suggested that testosterone replacement therapy may have a positive effect on lung function in men with COPD,” Jacques Baillargeon, the study’s author and a professor in preventive medicine and community health at University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, said in a press release.
The study, set to be published in the journal Chronic Respiratory Disease, was designed to determine whether testosterone replacement therapy (in which patients are prescribed testosterone) could help reduce the risk of hospitalization due to respiratory disease in middle-aged and older men with COPD.
Baillargeon noted that “we are the first to conduct a large-scale, nationally representative study on this association.”
Baillargeon and his colleagues used the Clinformatics Data Mart dataset, which comprises one of the largest commercially insured populations in the United States. They examined data from 450 men ages 40-63 with COPD who began testosterone replacement therapy between 2005 and 2014.
Researchers also used the national Medicare database to study data from 253 men age 66 and up with COPD, and who initiated testosterone replacement therapy between 2008 and 2013.
Researchers found that patients who underwent testosterone replacement therapy had a greater reduction in respiratory hospitalizations when compared to patients who did not receive the therapy.
“Specifically, middle-aged testosterone replacement therapy users had a 4.2 percent greater decrease in respiratory hospitalizations compared with non-users,” Baillargeon said. “Older testosterone replacement therapy users had a 9.1 percent greater decrease in respiratory hospitalizations compared with non-users.”