New York, Sep 14 : Testosterone replacement therapy may slow the progression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a new study has found.
COPD is a group of lung diseases that causes airflow blockage and breathing-related problems including emphysema and bronchitis.
The findings, published in the journal Chronic Respiratory Disease, suggested that middle-aged testosterone replacement therapy users had a 4.2 per cent greater decrease in respiratory hospitalisations compared with non-users.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), COPD is predicted to be the third leading cause of illness and death internationally by 2030.
"We found that testosterone users had a greater decrease in respiratory hospitalisations compared with non-users," said co-author Jacques Baillargeon, Professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch in the US.
Low testosterone is common in men with COPD and may worsen their condition.
Men with COPD have shortness of breath and often take steroid-based medications for an extended time, both of which increase their risk of low testosterone, the team said.
For the study, the researchers examined data of 450 men aged between 40 and 63 with COPD who began testosterone replacement therapy between 2005 and 2014.
They also used the national Medicare database to study data from 253 men with COPD aged 66 and above who initiated testosterone replacement therapy between 2008 and 2013.
The researchers also found that older testosterone replacement therapy users had a 9.1 per cent greater decrease in respiratory hospitalisations compared with non-users.
The aim of the study was to find out whether testosterone replacement therapy reduced the risk of respiratory hospitalisations in middle-aged and older men with COPD, the team said.
"Previous studies have suggested that testosterone replacement therapy may have a positive effect on lung function in men with COPD.
However, we are the first to conduct a large scale nationally representative study on this association," Baillargeon said.