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Int J Clin Pract. 2007 Apr;61(4):622-32. Epub 2007 Mar 2.

Testosterone and ageing: what have we learned since the Institute of Medicine report and what lies ahead?

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1
Department of Family Medicine, Brown University School of Medicine, Providence, RI, USA. martin_miner@brown.edu

Abstract

A 2003 report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) surveyed the literature on the benefits and risks of testosterone replacement therapy in older men and identified knowledge gaps and research needs. This review summarises some key studies published since the IOM report. The possible relationship of testosterone to risk of prostate cancer remains a concern; however, no new evidence has emerged to suggest that testosterone replacement therapy increases the risk. Recent studies have demonstrated that hypogonadism in men may be more prevalent than previously thought, is strongly associated with metabolic syndrome, and may be a risk factor for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Clinical studies have shown that testosterone replacement therapy in hypogonadal men improves metabolic syndrome indicators and cardiovascular risk factors. Maintaining testosterone concentrations in the normal range has been shown to contribute to bone health, lean muscle mass, and physical and sexual function, suggesting that testosterone replacement therapy may help to prevent frailty in older men. Based on current knowledge, testosterone replacement therapy is unlikely to pose major health risks in patients without prostate cancer and may offer substantial health benefits. Larger, longer-term randomised studies are needed to fully establish the effects of testosterone replacement therapy.

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