Testosterone Treatment and Fractures in Men with Hypogonadism

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Testosterone treatment in men with hypogonadism improves bone density and quality, but trials with a sufficiently large sample and a sufficiently long duration to determine the effect of testosterone on the incidence of fractures are needed.


In a subtrial of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial that assessed the cardiovascular safety of testosterone treatment in middle-aged and older men with hypogonadism, we examined the risk of clinical fracture in a time-to-event analysis. Eligible men were 45 to 80 years of age with preexisting, or high risk of, cardiovascular disease; one or more symptoms of hypogonadism; and two-morning testosterone concentrations of less than 300 ng per deciliter (10.4 nmol per liter), in fasting plasma samples obtained at least 48 hours apart. Participants were randomly assigned to apply a testosterone or placebo gel daily. At every visit, participants were asked if they had a fracture since the previous visit. If they had, medical records were obtained and adjudicated.


The full-analysis population included 5204 participants (2601 in the testosterone group and 2603 in the placebo group). After a median follow-up of 3.19 years, a clinical fracture had occurred in 91 participants (3.50%) in the testosterone group and 64 participants (2.46%) in the placebo group (hazard ratio, 1.43; 95% confidence interval, 1.04 to 1.97). The fracture incidence also appeared to be higher in the testosterone group for all other fracture endpoints.


Among middle-aged and older men with hypogonadism, testosterone treatment did not result in a lower incidence of clinical fracture than placebo. The fracture incidence was numerically higher among men who received testosterone than among those who received placebo. (Funded by AbbVie and others; TRAVERSE ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT03518034. opens in new tab.)
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