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Baillieres Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1992 Apr;6(2):451-83.

Developments in the control of testicular function.


Clinicians and clinical investigators have developed improved means for controlling testicular function in men. New and refined approaches for stimulation and inhibition of the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis are now available. This chapter reviewed the most successful ways to inhibit the reproductive axis in men and its current application to the treatment of precocious puberty, metastatic prostate cancer, benign prostate hyperplasia and as prospective male contraceptives. Safe, effective and reversible medical approaches to male contraception are now approaching reality. Azoospermia and severe oligozoo/azoospermia can now be accomplished in the majority of men with combined GnRH antagonists and replacement doses of testosterone. Androgens and androgen-progestogen concentrations will induce azoospermia in over 90% of Asian men and azoospermia or severe oligospermia in Caucasian ethnic groups. Field trials are ongoing to determine whether testosterone administration will be more effective than condoms as contraceptives. True precocious puberty can now be managed more effectively than in the past by suppression of gonadotropin secretion with GnRH analogues. Precocious puberty due to other causes can be treated more effectively with inhibitors of steroidogenesis and blockers of androgen action. Metastatic prostate cancer, previously treatable with either castration or oestrogens, is now amenable to suppression of androgen secretion. GnRH analogues are given either alone or combined with blockers of androgen action. While significant palliative effects are observed with endocrine ablative therapy in most men with Stage C or D prostate cancer, modest increases in duration of survival may be seen. Benign prostate hyperplasia was previously approachable only with surgical intervention. Recent data have suggested that medical treatment with 5 alpha-reductase inhibitors and/or selective alpha-adrenergic blockers may offer non-surgical alternatives in some patients. More data are needed to determine the role of medical management of this common disorder.

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