Low-Dose Testosterone Replacement Safe, Effective

Laurie Barclay, MD

June 21, 2002

June 24, 2002 -- Male hormone replacement therapy (MHRT) with low-dose testosterone was both safe and effective, according to a presentation on June 21 at Endo 2002, the 84th annual meeting of The Endocrine Society.

"Decrease in testosterone with age parallels unfavorable changes in organs upon which androgens act," write F. M. Ellyin and colleagues at The Chicago Medical School in Illinois. "The goal of MHRT is to prevent, stabilize or reverse these detrimental target-organ changes."

The authors studied beneficial effects and safety of low-dose testosterone therapy in healthy men aged 65 to 85 years. Compared with healthy middle-aged males, baseline FT was borderline low, but LH, FSH, PRL, and E2 were normal. Since 1993, the subjects received intramuscular testosterone cypionate or testosterone enanthate, 25 mg weekly or 50 mg every 2 weeks.

During the study, testosterone levels increased, but there was no change in hemoglobin, hematocrit, liver function tests; incidence of sleep apnea; or serum calcium, phosphorus, alkaline phosphatase, osteocalcin, and urinary calcium excretion. Treatment had significant benefits on lipid metabolism, osteoporosis, muscle mass, fat distribution, libido, and sense of well-being, with a good safety profile.

"Low-dose testosterone is a safe therapy as far as atherogenicity, preventing rapid progression of male osteoporosis, and prostate pathology are concerned," the authors write. "The safety of low-dose testosterone for MHRT and [for] preventing rapid progression of dementia appears to be encouraging."

Endo 2002: Abstract P3-330. June 21, 2002.

Reviewed by Gary D. Vogin, MD

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