Article Abstract

A case series of the safety and efficacy of testosterone replacement therapy in renal failure and kidney transplant patients

Authors: Ahmad Majzoub, Daniel A. Shoskes


Background: Hypogonadism is common in patients with renal dysfunction and does not always correct following transplantation. Recent studies show increased mortality for dialysis and transplant patients with low testosterone (T). These patients are often not treated due to concerns over efficacy and complications (both real and imagined). There is surprisingly scant literature supporting the use of T therapy in these patients. We wished to examine the results of T therapy in our patients with renal failure or following transplant.
Methods: We identified 15 men in our Men’s Health Registry treated with T who either were on dialysis or had a functioning transplant at time of therapy. Demographic, laboratory and clinical outcome data were collected from the electronic medical record.
Results: There were 3 men on dialysis and 12 with a functioning transplant. Mean age was 53.7 years (range, 39–71 years) and mean total serum T was 207.9 ng/mL (range, 45–330 ng/mL). All had bothersome symptoms including fatigue (15/15) and erectile dysfunction (ED) (14/15). Mean hematocrit was 35.8% and 9/15 were anemic. Therapy included patches in 1, topical gels in 6 and testopel pellets in 8. With a mean follow-up of 22.7 months (range, 11–58 monthss), mean T post therapy was 528 (range, 226–869). Mean hematocrit improved to 42.6% and 7/9 anemic patients improved out of the anemic range. There were no cardiovascular or infectious complications.
Conclusions: Symptomatic hypogonadism is common in dialysis and transplant patients and T replacement therapy can be safely given with improvement in T values and symptoms in most patients. Anemia is usually improved. Testopel pellets can be used in immunosuppressed transplant recipients without infectious complications.