Epidemiological studies consistently demonstrate that lowered serum testosterone is not only common in men with established Type 2 diabetes, but also predicts future diabetic risks and increased mortality. Preclinical studies report plausible mechanisms by which low testosterone could mediate dysglycaemia. Exogenous testosterone treatment consistently reduces fat mass, increases muscle mass and improves insulin resistance in some studies, but the majority of currently available randomized controlled trials (RCTs) do not report a consistent glycaemic benefit. In men with diabetes, testosterone treatment effects on androgen deficiency-like clinical features are inconsistent, and effects on sexual dysfunction may be attenuated compared with men without diabetes. The long-term risks of testosterone treatment in older men without medical disease of the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis are not known. Current RCTs are not definitive, owing to their small size, short duration and enrolment of men with mostly relatively good baseline glycaemic control not specifically selected for the presence of androgen deficiency symptoms. Although large, well-designed clinical trials are needed, given the benefit-risk ratio of testosterone treatment is not well understood, routine serum testosterone testing or testosterone treatment of asymptomatic men with Type 2 diabetes is currently not recommended. Carefully selected, symptomatic men with low testosterone who are informed of the lack of high-level evidence regarding the long-term benefits and risks of this approach may be offered a trial of testosterone treatment in combination with lifestyle measures, weight loss and optimization of comorbidities.
Diabetic medicine : a journal of the British Diabetic Association. 2019 Apr 21 [Epub ahead of print]
E J Gianatti, M Grossmann
Department of Endocrinology, Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group, Murdoch, Australia., Department of Medicine Austin Health, University of Melbourne, Heidelberg, Australia.