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Reduction of Serum Testosterone Levels During Chronic Glucocorticoid Therapy

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▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Michael R. MacAdams, M.D.; 2600 Capitol Avenue, Suite 406; Sacramento, CA 95816.

Sacramento, California

© 1986 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1986;104(5):648-651. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-104-5-648
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The effect of chronic glucocorticoid therapy on serum testosterone levels was studied in men aged 67 ± 4 (SD) years with chronic pulmonary disease. The serum testosterone level was reduced in 14 of 16 patients to a mean value of 211 ± 93 ng/dL, compared with 449 ± 111 ng/dL in 11 age- and disease-matched control patients (p < 0.001). The corticosteroid dosage and the serum testosterone level were inversely related (r = -0.78). Testosterone binding to serum proteins was not significantly affected. Basal gonadotrophin levels were not elevated while their secretory responses to exogenous gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) were intact. We conclude that glucocorticoid therapy commonly reduces serum testosterone levels in older men due to alteration of hypothalamic GnRH secretion.





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