Study Highlights

  • Snyder and colleagues:
    • Study participants were men at least 65 years old with 2 serum testosterone results of less than 275 ng/dL.
    • Men were randomly assigned to receive testosterone gel with titration to maintain serum testosterone levels commensurate with those of a young man, or placebo gel. The treatment period was 12 months.
    • The main study outcome was BMD. Participants underwent BMD testing with quantitative computed tomography and dual energy x-ray absorptiometry of the spine and hip at baseline and at 12 months.
    • 211 men participated in the trial. The mean age of participants was 72.3 years, and the baseline mean testosterone level was slightly more than 230 ng/dL.
    • vBMD increased in the testosterone group by a mean of 7.5%, compared with an increase of only 0.8% in the placebo group (P <.01).
    • Measurements of hip trabecular and peripheral vBMD were also superior in the testosterone group vs the placebo group.
    • Testosterone appeared more effective in increasing trabecular vs peripheral BMD, and in improving BMD in the spine vs the hip.
    • 19 fractures were reported during the treatment year and 1 year after the treatment period, with no evidence of a difference in fracture rates in comparing the testosterone group vs the placebo group.
  • Roy and colleagues:
    • The study was conducted as a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial among men 65 years or older. All participants had a serum testosterone level of less than 275 ng/dL.
    • Men were randomly assigned to receive testosterone gel with titration to maintain serum testosterone levels commensurate with those of a young man, or placebo gel. The treatment period was 12 months.
    • There were 788 men in the study, of whom 126 were anemic, as defined by a hemoglobin level of 12.7 g/dL or lower. Approximately half of men with anemia had no known cause for anemia.
    • The main study outcome was the effect of testosterone therapy on hemoglobin levels among men with anemia.
    • The mean age of participants was 74.8 years, and the mean serum testosterone level among men with anemia was 222 ng/dL at baseline.
    • 54% of men with unexplained anemia who were treated with testosterone experienced an increase in hemoglobin levels of 1.0 g/dL or more, compared with only 15% of men with similar anemia treated with placebo (adjusted OR, 31.5; 95% CI, 3.7-277.8).
    • 58.3% of men treated with testosterone experienced resolution of their anemia, compared with 22.2% of men treated with placebo.
    • Testosterone also raised hemoglobin levels vs placebo among men with a known cause of anemia.
    • Hemoglobin levels increased past 17.5 g/dL in 6 men without anemia at baseline.

Clinical Implications

  • A retrospective cohort study by Cheetham and colleagues finds that testosterone therapy among men with evidence of testosterone deficiency is associated with lower risks for cardiac disease and cerebrovascular disease, even among men older than 65 years and those with preexisting cardiovascular disease.
  • Two new studies demonstrate that testosterone treatment can correct anemia and improve BMD among men with low testosterone levels at baseline.
  • Implications for the Healthcare Team: The current studies further demonstrate potential benefits of testosterone therapy among men with testosterone deficiency. Testosterone therapy was also associated with a lower risk for cardiovascular events in one study. Nonetheless, clinicians should continue to perform shared decision making regarding testosterone therapy and apply this treatment only among men with established testosterone deficiency.

Article Source: http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/876307

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