Testosterone Replacement Therapy Has Limited Effect on Increasing Bone Mass Density in Older Men: a Meta-analysis

Curr Pharm Des. 2019;25(1):73-84. doi: 10.2174/1381612825666190206223244.


Background: Testosterone insufficiency may play a role in age-related decreases in bone mass density (BMD) and osteoporosis in aging men. Testosterone replacement therapy (T therapy) seems to be a simple and convenient way to increase BMD and improve the condition of osteoporosis.

Objective: To evaluate the effects of T therapy in increasing BMD among older men with low serum testosterone concentrations.

Methods: A comprehensive search in the PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science and Cochrane Central databases was undertaken for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on the effect of T therapy on osteoporosis in aging men. Primary outcome measures were the change in BMD, bone turnover markers, prostate symptoms, body composition, metabolic and endocrine system markers. The final search was performed in October 2018.

Results: Seven RCTs were included. A total of 800 patients met the inclusion criteria. T therapy did not significantly reverse the trend toward decreasing BMD in the spine, femoral neck, Ward's triangle and the whole body, with the exception of the trochanter and total hip. In addition, T therapy increased prostate size, lean mass, sex hormone levels; reduced HDL concentration; and had no statistical effect on prostate symptoms, body composition, serum hormones and metabolism.

Conclusion: T therapy is not effective in increasing BMD in older men. In addition, it has limited effects on prostate-specific antigen (PSA), the International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS), body mass index (BMI), fat mass, parathyroid hormone (PTH), 25-VitD and lipid metabolism, although it can increase prostate size, lean mass, and sex hormone levels, and reduce glucose levels and HDL concentrations.

Keywords: Testosterone; aging men; bone mass density; meta-analysis; osteoporosis; randomized controlled trials..

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Bone Density*
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Osteoporosis / drug therapy*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Testosterone / administration & dosage*


  • Testosterone