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The Use of Testosterone in AIDS Wasting Syndrome

May 3, 1999

AIDS Clinical Care (04/99) Vol. 11, No. 4, P. 25;
Corcoran, Colleen; Grinspoon, Steven

The use of testosterone may help in staving off AIDS wasting syndrome (AWS), according to recent data. Studies have indicated that testosterone levels are low in over half of all men with AIDS, and hypogonadism is seen to increase with the progression of the disease. Hypogonadism is often related to the effects of severe illness, malnutrition, and opportunistic infections. The condition in HIV-infected patients often manifests in loss of muscle mass, fatigue, and reduced quality of life. Loss of lean body mass is often associated with increased mortality. Researchers found that hypogonadal HIV-infected men treated with testosterone gained in lean body and muscle mass, in addition to reporting benefits related to quality of life and overall well-being. Women with an androgen deficiency concordant with AWS also reaped the benefits of increased quality of life and well-being, when using testosterone. Testosterone is currently administered by injection, as well as transdermal patches. Analysis of the possible detrimental effects of testosterone treatment such as prostate problems, mood swings, and acne are still in progress. The synthetic testosterone analogues oxandrolone and nandrolone are also being studied for use in the treatment of AWS.

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