A study of men with prediabetes and hypogonadism (low testosterone levels) showed that treatment with testosterone therapy was linked with a lower risk of progression to type 2 diabetes.
316 men with prediabetes and low testosterone levels took part in the study. 229 of the participants received testosterone therapy with testosterone undecanoate and 87 participants, the control group, received no treatment. The participants were monitored twice-yearly over an eight-year period.
Prediabetes was defined as having HbA1c levels between 5.7% (39 mmol/mol) and 6.4% (46 mmol/mol). Low testosterone included having total testosterone levels of 12.1 nmol/L or lower and showing symptoms of low testosterone.
The results showed that 90% of participants in the testosterone therapy group achieved an HbA1c below 5.7% (39 mmol/mol). By contrast, 40% of the control group experienced rises in HbA1c, to above 6.4% (46 mmol/mol), that led to a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
The average change in HbA1c among the testosterone therapy group was a decrease of 0.4% (4 mmol/mol). The average change in the control group was an increase in HbA1c of 0.6% (7 mmol/mol).
The group taking testosterone therapy also had lower rates of non-fatal myocardial infarction (heart attack) and mortality.
The research, carried out by an international team of researchers, suggests significant potential for preventing type 2 diabetes, and associated health problems, in men with prediabetes and low testosterone.
The research was financially supported by pharmaceutical company, Bayer, who make the testosterone undecanoate treatment, Nebido.
Findings from the study have been published online, ahead of print, by the Diabetes Care journal.

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