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Maturitas. 1998 Jun 17;29(3):253-9.

Effect of percutaneous androgen replacement therapy on body composition and body weight in postmenopausal women.

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  • 1Department of Gynecological Endocrinology and Reproductive Medicine, University of Vienna, Wien, Austria.



This study was carried out to assess the effect of topical androgen replacement therapy on body weight, body composition and fat distribution in postmenopausal women.


39 healthy postmenopausal women (51.4 +/- 2.24 years), with increasing body weight, were prospectively studied for 6 months. Body composition (fat mass, kg, %) was measured by means of dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Hormonal and lipid parameters were also measured. Subjects were divided into two groups. An androgen gel (group A) or placebo gel (group P) was topically administered to the abdominal and gluteo-femoral regions. DXA was performed before commencement of topical treatment and after 6 months.


A highly significant total body weight reduction was found in group A (68.0 +/- 13.1 to 65.4 +/- 11.8 kg). Abdominal fat (37.3 +/- 11.2 to 35.1 +/- 9.7%), gluteo-femoral fat (46.3 +/- 6.6 to 45.4 +/- 7.7%), total body fat (38.2 +/- 7.9 to 36.1 +/- 8.6%) and BMI (24.8 +/- 4.3 to 23.7 +/- 3.8) were also found to have decreased significantly in this group. No significant reduction in body weight (kg) and body fat (%) could be measured in the placebo group. No influence on lipid parameters was found although total testosterone increased significantly in group A (0.29 +/- 0.24 to 0.72 +/- 0.17 ng/ml).


Topically applied androgen is capable of reducing abdominal fat accumulations as well as total body weight in postmenopausal women with unexplained weight gain. In contrast to systemic androgen application, topical administration has no effect on the lipid profile. Gluteal fat, however, is less effectively influenced by androgens.

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