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Semin Dial. 2004 May-Jun;17(3):202-8.

Testosterone metabolism and replacement therapy in patients with end-stage renal disease.

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Division of Nephrology, San Francisco VA Medical Center and University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.


Hypogonadism is common among men with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), beginning before the need for dialysis and not improved with the initiation of dialysis. Many of the manifestations of hypogonadism, such as bone disease and muscle wasting, are also frequently seen among dialysis patients. There have been few studies of testosterone replacement therapy in this patient population, but available data suggest that testosterone can be administered without adjustment of the doses used in hypogonadal men with normal renal function. Extrapolation from results of treatment of hypogonadal older men with normal renal function suggests that testosterone replacement could improve libido and could have salutary effects on muscle mass and bone mineral density in patients with kidney disease. However, caution is warranted because of the potential side effects of testosterone therapy, and further research is needed to more precisely define the balance of risk and benefit in patients with chronic kidney disease. Specifically it will be important to determine the prevalence and clinical significance of hypogonadism in ESRD patients in the modern era and to measure the effects of replacement therapy on various symptoms of hypogonadism as well as on overall quality of life, physical functioning, and survival.

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