Quality of Life and Sexual Function Benefits of Long-Term Testosterone Treatment: Longitudinal Results From the Registry of Hypogonadism in Men (RHYME)

J Sex Med. 2017 Sep;14(9):1104-1115. doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2017.07.004. Epub 2017 Aug 7.


Background: The benefits and risks of long-term testosterone administration have been a topic of much scientific and regulatory interest in recent years.

Aim: To assess long-term quality of life (QOL) and sexual function benefits of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) prospectively in a diverse, multinational cohort of men with hypogonadism.

Methods: A multinational patient registry was used to assess long-term changes associated with TRT in middle-age and older men with hypogonadism. Comprehensive evaluations were conducted at 6, 12, 24, and 36 months after enrollment into the registry.

Outcomes: QOL and sexual function were evaluated by validated measures, including the Aging Males' Symptom (AMS) Scale and the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF).

Results: A total of 999 previously untreated men with hypogonadism were enrolled at 25 European centers, 750 of whom received TRT at at least one visit during the period of observation. Patients on TRT reported rapid and sustained improvements in QOL, with fewer sexual, psychological, and somatic symptoms. Modest improvements in QOL and sexual function, including erectile function, also were noted in RHYME patients not on TRT, although treated patients showed consistently greater benefit over time in all symptom domains compared with untreated patients. AMS total scores for patients on TRT were 32.8 (95% confidence interval = 31.3-34.4) compared with 36.6 (95% confidence interval = 34.8-38.5) for untreated patients (P < .001). Small but significant improvements in IIEF scores over time also were noted with TRT. Approximately 25% of treated and untreated men also used phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors, with notable differences in the frequency of phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor prescription use according to physician specialty and geographic site location.

Clinical implications: TRT-related benefits in QOL and sexual function are well maintained for up to 36 months after initiation of treatment.

Strengths and limitations: The major strengths are the large, diverse patient population being treated in multidisciplinary clinical settings. The major limitation is the frequency of switching from one formulation to another.

Conclusion: Overall, we confirmed the broad and sustained benefits of TRT across major QOL dimensions, including sexual, somatic, and psychological health, which were sustained over 36 months in our treatment cohort. Rosen RC, Wu F, Behre H, et al. Quality of Life and Sexual Function Benefits Effects of Long-Term Testosterone Treatment: Longitudinal Results From the Registry of Hypogonadism in Men (RHYME). J Sex Med 2017;14:1104-1115.

Keywords: Hypogonadism; Phosphodiesterase Type 5 Inhibitors; Quality of Life; Sexual Function; Testosterone Replacement Therapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Europe
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hypogonadism / drug therapy*
  • Hypogonadism / physiopathology
  • Hypogonadism / psychology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Penile Erection / drug effects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Registries
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Testosterone / therapeutic use*
  • Young Adult


  • Testosterone