Background: The effects of declining androgen secretion on mood regulation and the potential psychotropic efficacy of androgen replacement in men are largely undetermined.
Objective: To examine the effects on mood of the acute suppression of testosterone secretion.
Design: A double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover (self-as-own-control) study.
Setting: An ambulatory care clinic in a research hospital.
Participants: Thirty-one healthy adult men with no history of psychiatric illness or substance or anabolic steroid abuse.
Interventions: Men received depot leuprolide acetate (Lupron, 7.5 mg intramuscularly) every 4 weeks for 3 months. After the first month of Lupron alone, all men received (in addition to Lupron) testosterone enanthate (200 mg intramuscular) or placebo (sesame oil as color-matched vehicle) every 2 weeks for 1 month each in a crossover design. The order of administration of testosterone and placebo was randomly assigned and counterbalanced.
Main outcome measures: Mood and behavior rating scores (self-report and rater administered).
Results: With the exceptions of hot flushes, libido, and the feeling of being emotionally charged, none of the symptoms measured showed a significant difference across eugonadal, Lupron plus placebo, and Lupron plus testosterone conditions. Despite the absence of a uniform effect of Lupron plus placebo on mood, 3 men experienced clinically relevant mood symptoms during this induced hypogonadal condition. High baseline levels of sexual functioning predicted the greatest decline in sexual function during Lupron plus placebo.
Conclusions: These data, the first to describe the effects on mood of induced hypogonadism in healthy young men, suggest that short-term hypogonadism is sufficient to precipitate depressive symptoms in only a small minority of younger men. The predictors of this susceptibility remain to be determined.