Published On: Fri, Feb 19th, 2016

Testosterone treatment for older men boosts sexual function: study

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First clinical trial shows that testosterone treatment for men aged 65 and older improves sexual function, walking ability and mood.

“Previous testosterone trials in older men yielded equivocal and inconsistent results, ” said Jane A. Cauley, professor in Pitt Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology. “We showed that testosterone improved men’s impression that their sexual function and walking ability had improved, suggesting that these effects are clinically important.”

Testosterone treatment increased the blood testosterone to levels comparable to mid-normal for young men. Testosterone also improved all aspects of sexual function, including sexual activity, sexual desire and the ability to get an erection.

Testosterone treatment did not significantly improve distance walked in six minutes when only men enrolled in the physical function trial were considered, but did increase the distance walked when all men in the TTrials were considered. The treatment did not improve energy, but did improve mood and depressive symptoms.

“The results of the trial show for the first time that testosterone treatment of older men who have unequivocally low testosterone levels does have some benefit, ” said lead author Peter J. Snyder, a professor at Penn. “However, decisions about testosterone treatment for these men also will depend on the results of the other four trials – cognitive function, bone, cardiovascular and anemia – and the risks of testosterone treatment.”

In 2003, the Institute of Medicine reported that there was insufficient evidence to support any beneficial effect of testosterone in such men.

TTrials researchers screened 51, 085 men to find 790 who qualified with a sufficiently low testosterone level and who met other criteria.

Across the three trials, adverse events – including heart attack, stroke, other cardiovascular events and prostate conditions – were similar in men who received testosterone and those who received placebo. However, the number of men in the TTrials was too small to draw conclusions about the risk of testosterone treatment, which the researchers say would require a larger and longer trial.


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