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Clinical Trial
, 70 (1), 282-7

Effects of Chronic Testosterone Administration in Normal Men: Safety and Efficacy of High Dosage Testosterone and Parallel Dose-Dependent Suppression of Luteinizing Hormone, Follicle-Stimulating Hormone, and Sperm Production

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Clinical Trial

Effects of Chronic Testosterone Administration in Normal Men: Safety and Efficacy of High Dosage Testosterone and Parallel Dose-Dependent Suppression of Luteinizing Hormone, Follicle-Stimulating Hormone, and Sperm Production

A M Matsumoto. J Clin Endocrinol Metab.

Abstract

In normal men, chronic testosterone (T) administration results in negative feedback suppression of gonadotropin and sperm production. However, azoospermia is achieved in only 50-70% of men treated with high dosages of T. Furthermore, the relative sensitivity of LH and FSH secretion to chronic administration of more physiological dosages of T is unclear. We determined whether a T dosage higher than those previously given would be more or less effective in suppressing spermatogenesis and whether, within the physiological range, T would exert a more selective effect on LH than on FSH secretion. After a 4- to 6-month control period, 51 normal men were randomly assigned to treatment groups (n = 9-12/group) receiving either sesame oil (1 mL) or T enanthate (25, 50, 100, or 300 mg, im) weekly for 6 months. Monthly LH and FSH levels by RIA and twice monthly sperm counts were determined. During treatment, T levels were measured daily between two weekly injections. Chronic T administration in physiological to moderately supraphysiological dosages resulted in parallel dose-dependent suppression of LH, FSH, and sperm production. T enanthate (50 mg/week) suppressed LH and FSH levels and sperm counts to 50% of those in placebo-treated men (ED50). T enanthate (300 mg/week), was no more effective than 100 mg/week in suppressing LH, FSH, and sperm production. Serum T levels in men who received 100 and 300 mg/week T enanthate were 1.5- and 3-fold higher than those in placebo-treated men, respectively. Except for mild truncal acne, weight gain, and increases in hematocrit, we detected no significant adverse health effects of chronic high dosage T administration. We conclude that 1) LH and FSH secretion are equally sensitive to the long term negative feedback effects of T administration; 2) sperm production is suppressed in parallel with the LH and FSH reductions induced by chronic T administration; and 3) even at the clearly supraphysiological dosage of 300 mg/week, T enanthate does not reliably induce azoospermia in normal men. However, there was also no evidence of a stimulatory effect of this T dosage on spermatogenesis. Furthermore, we found no evidence of major adverse health effects of T administered chronically even at the highest dosage.

PIP: In Seattle, Washington, health workers randomly assigned 51 healthy men (mean age, 29 years) to a group that was to receive either 1 ml sesame oil or testosterone enanthate (T enanthate) at various doses once a week for 6 months so an investigator could determine the safety and efficacy of long-term administration of T enanthate in suppressing spermatogenesis and whether it would bring about a more selective feedback effect on luteinizing hormone (LH) than on follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) secretion. 4-6 months prior to treatment, observations and measurements were performed with no administration of hormones. T enanthate effected a significant dose-dependent suppression of both serum LH and FSH levels. At 50 mg of T enanthate per week, the LH level was 65% and the FSH level was 62% of control values; at 100 mg/week, the levels were at 32% and 34% of control values, respectively. T enanthate also contributed to a significant dose-dependent suppression of both sperm counts and concentrations. At 50 mg/week, the sperm count was 36% of control values; at 100 mg/week, it was 0.8% of control values. T enanthate at a dose of 300 mg/week was no more effective than 100 mg/week. The dose-dependent suppression curves were parallel for the hormones, sperm counts, and sperm concentrations. Men who received 100 mg and 300 mg T enanthate per week had higher T levels than the men treated with sesame oil. These levels were at and above the upper limits of the normal range. The men suffered from no significant adverse health effects. There were cases of mild truncal acne, weight gain, and increases in hematocrit. These findings show that LH and FSH secretion are sensitive to long-term negative feedback effects of T administration as well as is spermatogenesis. T enanthate may prove to be a useful male contraceptive agent.

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