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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Jun;294(6):E1135-43. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.90213.2008. Epub 2008 Apr 22.

Effects of a supraphysiological dose of testosterone on physical function, muscle performance, mood, and fatigue in men with HIV-associated weight loss.

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  • 1Section of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Nutrition, Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA 02118, USA.


Testosterone increases fat-free mass (FFM) in men infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), but its effects on muscle performance, physical function, mood, and quality of life are poorly understood. Sixty-one HIV-infected men with weight loss were randomized to receive weekly intramuscular injections of 300 mg of testosterone enanthate or placebo for 16 wk. The primary outcome of interest was physical function (walking speed, stair-climbing power, and load-carrying ability). Secondary outcome measures included body weight and composition, muscle performance, sexual function, mood, and quality of life. Serum nadir free and total testosterone levels increased (+188.0 +/- 29.6 and +720 +/- 86 ng/dl) in the testosterone, but not placebo, group. Testosterone administration was associated with increased FFM (2.8 +/- 0.5 kg), which was significantly greater than in the placebo group (P < 0.0001). Leg press strength increased significantly in testosterone-treated (P = 0.027), but not placebo-treated, men; the difference between groups was not significant. Other measures of muscle performance and physical function did not change significantly in either group. Men receiving testosterone demonstrated significantly greater improvements in mental health and quality-of-life scores than those receiving placebo and improvements in fatigue/energy and mood scores that were not significantly different from those receiving placebo. Sexual function scores did not change in either group. In HIV-infected men with weight loss, a supraphysiological dose of testosterone significantly increased FFM but did not improve self-reported or performance-based measures of physical function. Improvements in mood, fatigue, and quality-of-life measures in the testosterone group, although clinically important, need further confirmation.

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