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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Feb;89(2):681-7.

Transdermal testosterone application: pharmacokinetics and effects on pubertal status, short-term growth, and bone turnover.

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Department of Paediatrics, Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital, Aberdeen AB25 2ZG, Scotland, United Kingdom.


The aim of the study was to assess the effect of transdermal testosterone on free testosterone concentrations in saliva and on short-term growth and bone turnover in boys with growth or pubertal delay. A prospective, randomized, crossover study was conducted over 26 wk with 4 wk of run-in, 8 wk of treatment I (8 or 12 h), 4 wk of washout, 8 wk of treatment II (8 or 12 h), and 4 wk of final washout. The main outcome measures were salivary testosterone profiles during the different study periods; weekly change in lower leg length (LLL) as measured by knemometry, i.e. LLL velocity; absolute and percentage change in bone alkaline phosphatase (bALP) levels; and deoxypyridinoline cross-links measured in urine. Eight boys who took part in the study had a median age of 13.5 yr (range, 12.4-14.9 yr), testicular volume of 3 ml (range, 2-6 ml), height SD score of -2.4 (range, -1.44 to -3.35), and bone age delay of 2 yr (range, 1-3.2 yr). Median salivary testosterone during 8- and 12-h treatments [179 pg/ml (range, 7-3579 pg/ml) and 150 pg/ml (range, 12-3472 pg/ml) (not significant)] was significantly higher than during the run-in and washout blocks (P < 0.0001) [9 pg/ml (range, <7 to 122 pg/ml) and 13 pg/ml (range, <7 to 285 pg/ml) (not significant)]. LLL velocity in the treatment blocks (median, 0.64 mm/wk; range, 0.1-1.08 mm/wk) was significantly higher than during the run-in and washout periods (median, 0.48 mm/wk; range, -0.06 to 0.92 mm/wk) (P < 0.001). The main rise in bALP occurred during the first treatment block with a median percentage change in bALP of 44.2% (range, -4 to 87%) and a smaller percentage change in bALP at the end of the second treatment block of 9.8% (range, -4 to 55%). The increases in bALP were not significantly different between the 8- and 12-h treatment periods, and there was no significant decline during the washout periods. Overnight transdermal testosterone application, as Virormone (5 mg), may be a potentially acceptable method of induction of puberty and stimulates short-term growth and bone turnover.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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