Testosterone Therapy: The Ups and Downs

Testosterone therapy in older men showed mixed potential outcomes

(RxWiki News) Older men who received testosterone therapy saw some good outcomes and some that weren't so good, according to new research.

On one hand, many older men receiving testosterone therapy in these studies experienced improvements in strength and bone density, in addition to reduced anemia rates. On the other hand, some of these men saw the plaque in their coronary arteries worsen, and the therapy didn't appear to improve cognitive functioning.

Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone. Past research has suggested that low testosterone levels in men may lead to anemia, reduced bone density, muscle weakness, reduced sexual function and other problems.

"Looking globally at testosterone therapy, the strongest evidence is for sexual function," said lead study author Dr. Thomas Gill, the Humana Foundation professor of medicine, in a press release. "The latest studies demonstrate that if a man with low serum testosterone is going to be prescribed testosterone for diminished sexual function, he may have some additional benefits on hemoglobin levels and bone density."

The researchers behind these studies said their negative findings related to testosterone therapy are concerning. They called for more in-depth research on the topics to help confirm these findings.

These studies looked nearly 10,000 older men who were given either daily testosterone therapy or a placebo for one year.

These studies were published in JAMA and JAMA Internal Medicine.

Various arms of the National Institutes of Health provided funding. Information on potential conflicts of interest was not available at the time of publication.