Androgen replacement therapy in male patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Arthritis Rheum. 1991 Jan;34(1):1-5. doi: 10.1002/art.1780340102.


A hypogonadic condition characterized by low serum testosterone levels has been identified in male patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Seven men with active RA were treated daily for 6 months with oral testosterone undecanoate plus a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug in an attempt to evaluate the immunologic response, the overall clinical response, and the sex hormone response to such replacement therapy. At the end of the 6 months, there was a significant increase in serum testosterone levels (P less than 0.05), an increase in the number of CD8+ T cells, and a decrease in the CD4+:CD8+ T cell ratio. The IgM rheumatoid factor concentration decreased significantly (P less than 0.05). There was a concurrent significant reduction in the number of affected joints (P less than 0.05) and in the daily intake of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (P less than 0.01). The well-known immunosuppressive action of androgens probably contributed to our findings in these RA patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Aged
  • Androgens / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / blood
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Humans
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Testosterone / administration & dosage


  • Androgens
  • Testosterone
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone