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06/22/2009 - News

The benefits of testosterone treatment are unknown

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD

A review uncovers little evidence for testosterone treatment's effect on sexual dysfunction. Low testosterone levels are sometimes blamed if a man complains of low sex drive, fatigue and poor quality of life. Prescribing a testosterone supplement may sound like an obvious answer.

However, Mayo Clinic physicians now say that there is little hard evidence to support the use of testosterone for sexual dysfunction. Nor is there much information on whether it may present a risk to the heart.

The Mayo team carried out a review of trials of testosterone for sexual dysfunction and on cardiovascular events. They conclude that there is actually no evidence that testosterone cannot cause heart problems. Given that estrogen, the equivalent female hormone, is now known to increase the risk of heart disease, this finding should sound warning bells. And evidence of the impact of testosterone on sexual functioning is inconsistent. Therefore, larger and more rigorous trials are needed to see if testosterone is both safe and effective before its widespread use can be recommended.


Mayo Clinic Proceedings January 2007

Created on: 01/12/2007
Reviewed on: 06/22/2009

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