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The effect of heroin addiction on pituitary-testicular function

By C Wang, V Chan and RTT Yeung


The effect of heroin addiction on pituitary-testicular function was studied in 54 active and 19 abstinent addicts and their results were compared with those of 43 age-matched controls. Abnormal sexual function was frequently found in heroin addicts and this persisted after drug withdrawal. The mean total (mean ± SE, 18.1 ± 1.0 nmol/l) and free (0.17 ± 0.03 nmol/l) testosterone (T) levels in heroin addicts were significantly lower than those in healthy controls (total T 22.8 ± 1.1 nmol/l, P<0.005; free T 0.30 ± 0.03 nmol/l, P<0.005). The mean sex hormone binding globulin binding capacity was higher in heroin addicts (60.1 ± 5.2 nM) than in healthy controls (35.5 ± 2.1 nM). These hormonal changes returned promptly to normal after withdrawal. The basal LH and FSH and the responses to LHRH were comparable in the 3 groups studied. The finding of significantly lower total and free T together with higher SHBG indicates an abnormal testicular function in heroin addiction. Normal basal and LHRH-stimulated LH and FSH levels suggest that chronic heroin abuse depressed testicular function via the hypothalamus or higher centers.link_to_subscribed_fulltex

Topics: Adult, Follicle Stimulating Hormone - Secretion, Heroin Dependence - Physiopathology, Humans, Luteinizing Hormone - Secretion, Male, Pituitary Gland - Drug Effects - Physiopathology, Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin - Analysis, Sexual Behavior - Drug Effects, Testis - Drug Effects - Physiopathology, Testosterone - Blood
Publisher: 'Wiley'
Year: 1978
DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1365-2265.1978.tb03585.x
OAI identifier:
Provided by: HKU Scholars Hub
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