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J Sex Med. 2007 Jul;4(4 Pt 1):1056-69.

The burden of testosterone deficiency syndrome in adult men: economic and quality-of-life impact.

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Andrology Unit, Department of Clinical Physiopathology, University of Florence, Viale Pieraccini 6, 50139 Florence, Italy.



Testosterone deficiency syndrome (TDS) causes a wide range of symptoms that can lead to significant morbidity. Preliminary evidence has also linked TDS with premature mortality and with a number of comorbid diseases including diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Such associations can lead to substantial economic and quality-of-life implications, the magnitude of which remains largely unknown.


To review the economic and quality-of-life consequences of a largely untreated condition and to consider the likely health economic benefits of testosterone treatment.


A systematic review of four main areas: epidemiological evidence of the magnitude of TDS, estimates of cost of illness, impact on quality-of-life, and cost-effectiveness of testosterone treatment.


Review of peer-reviewed literature.


The lack of clear universally accepted diagnostic criteria and the uncertainty surrounding the link between TDS and some of its consequences complicate the estimation of the burden of illness of TDS. Consequences of TDS that potentially lead to increased economic burden include depression, sexual dysfunction, mild cognitive impairment, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and mortality. However, although good evidence exists demonstrating an association between TDS and sexual dysfunction and cognitive impairment, evidence is less strong for depression, the incidence of fractures and mortality, and highly controversial for cardiovascular disease. The consequences that are likely to impact on patients' quality of life include sexual function, energy levels, body composition, mood, and cognitive function.


Understanding the burden is only the first step decision makers need to take to decide whether to allocate scarce resources to treat the condition. To make informed decisions on when and who to treat information is also needed on the cost-effectiveness of available treatments. Such data would highlight the benefits of treatment of TDS to physicians, patients, and to society as a whole.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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