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March 2016

Testosterone Treatment Has Pluses, Minuses

Testosterone treatment may help some older men regain sexual desire, but it won’t give them more energy. That’s the conclusion of a recent that looked at how well this treatment worked.

Older couple, with man's arm around woman's shoulders

As men get older, their level of testosterone usually goes down. Older men also often have less interest in sex, less energy, and problems with memory. Doctors wondered if giving men testosterone treatment could ease any of these problems.

Popular remedy

A growing number of men in the U.S. have been getting testosterone treatment, but doctors did not know how well this treatment really worked. The new study results are from the Testosterone Trials, a study funded by the federal government to take a closer look.

The trials followed nearly 800 men ages 65 and older. All had low testosterone levels because of age. Some of the men got testosterone as a gel. The other men got a gel that had no testosterone in it (placebo). The men used the gel for one year.

The men who used the testosterone gel said they had more interest sex, had more sex, and had better erectile function, the researchers reported. The men who had the placebo did not have these results.

Not a panacea

But the testosterone gel did not give the men more energy or improve their overall physical abilities. The researchers said that men with vitality problems would do better with existing treatments. Men with erectile dysfunction would also do better with existing treatments.

The men in the study did not develop any health problems caused by taking the testosterone. But the FDA issued a warning in 2015 that said testosterone treatments could raise a man’s risk for heart attack or stroke.


Learn more about men's health issues.

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