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Vakkat Muraleedharan, Hazel Marsh, Dheeraj Kapoor, Kevin S Channer and T Hugh Jones

Objective

Men with type 2 diabetes are known to have a high prevalence of testosterone deficiency. No long-term data are available regarding testosterone and mortality in men with type 2 diabetes or any effect of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). We report a 6-year follow-up study to examine the effect of baseline testosterone and TRT on all-cause mortality in men with type 2 diabetes and low testosterone.

Research design and methods

A total of 581 men with type 2 diabetes who had testosterone levels performed between 2002 and 2005 were followed up for a mean period of 5.8±1.3 s.d. years. Mortality rates were compared between total testosterone >10.4 nmol/l (300 ng/dl; n=343) and testosterone ≤10.4 nmol/l (n=238). The effect of TRT (as per normal clinical practise: 85.9% testosterone gel and 14.1% intramuscular testosterone undecanoate) was assessed retrospectively within the low testosterone group.

Results

Mortality was increased in the low testosterone group (17.2%) compared with the normal testosterone group (9%; P=0.003) when controlled for covariates. In the Cox regression model, multivariate-adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for decreased survival was 2.02 (P=0.009, 95% CI 1.2–3.4). TRT (mean duration 41.6±20.7 months; n=64) was associated with a reduced mortality of 8.4% compared with 19.2% (P=0.002) in the untreated group (n=174). The multivariate-adjusted HR for decreased survival in the untreated group was 2.3 (95% CI 1.3–3.9, P=0.004).

Conclusions

Low testosterone levels predict an increase in all-cause mortality during long-term follow-up. Testosterone replacement may improve survival in hypogonadal men with type 2 diabetes.