Chronic opioid therapy for pain management is known to induce several endocrine changes. The authors examined the effect of testosterone supplemental therapy (TST) in patients with chronic, noncancer pain undergoing opioid therapy. It was hypothesized that treatment of opioid-induced hypogonadism (OIH) can reduce opioid requirements in patients suffering from chronic pain and approve their quality of life. Over 18 months period, patients with OIH were identified in a tertiary referral pain center, Numerical Rating Scale (NRS) pain scores and daily morphine equivalent dose (MED) were the primary outcomes measured. Data were collected and comparative analysis performed between men undergoing TST versus nontreatment group. Twenty-seven OIH patients (total testosterone <300 ng/dL) were identified during the study period. TST group consists of 11 patients, while non-TST group consists of 16 patients as control cohort. Mean patient age (55 and 54.4, p = .4) and basic metabolic index (28.5 and 31.9, p = .07) in TST and non-TST groups, respectively. Mean follow-up total testosterone (ng/dL) was significantly higher after TST compared with the non-TST group (497.5 vs. 242.4 ng/dL, p = .03). Median follow-up NRS was 0 and 2 in the TST and non-TST groups ( p = .02). Mean MED (mg) decreased by 21 mg in TST group and increased by 2.5 mg in non-TST group ( p < .05). This study reports that treatment of OIH with TST can reduce opioid requirements in men with chronic pain as quantified by MED. It also confirms previous reports on the potential effects of OIH and that TST is effective in correcting opioid-induced endocrine abnormalities.
Keywords: hypogonadism; opioids; testosterone supplemental therapy.