Nav: Home

Benefits of testosterone therapy in older men are mixed

February 21, 2017

New Haven, Conn.-- Older men with low testosterone levels showed improved bone density and strength, as well as reduced anemia, after one year of testosterone therapy, according to a new study conducted at Yale and other sites. The therapy had no impact on cognitive function, however, and may worsen plaque in coronary arteries, said the researchers.

The results of the four trials were published online Feb. 21 in two journals, JAMA and JAMA Internal Medicine.

The studies, known as the TTrials, are the largest trials to examine the efficacy of testosterone treatment in men 65 and older whose testosterone levels are low due to age. At 12 study sites across the country, 790 participants were given testosterone gel or a placebo applied daily to the skin. Over a year, investigators measured the effects of testosterone on four areas: anemia, bone density and strength, cardiovascular health, and cognitive function.

The findings were mixed.
  • Anemia trial: After one year of treatment, 54% of the men with unexplained anemia and 52% of those with anemia from known causes had clinically significant increases in hemoglobin (red blood cell) levels, compared with 15% and 12%, respectively, of those in the placebo group.

  • Bone trial: After one year, participants significantly increased volumetric bone mineral density -- a marker of fracture risk -- and estimated bone strength compared to controls. These results were greater in the spine than hip.

  • Cardiovascular trial: The study found that the volume of non-calcified plaque -- a build-up within the walls of blood vessels in the heart -- increased significantly more in the testosterone-treated group compared to controls. The plaque was measured by coronary computerized tomographic arteriography, a type of heart scan.

  • Cognition trial: After one year, there was no significant change in either the treatment or the placebo group in cognition, as measured by verbal memory, visual memory, executive function, and spatial ability.


The findings are the second set of results from the long-term TTrials, which demonstrated the benefit of testosterone therapy on sexual function in older men with low testosterone in a report published last year. "Looking globally at testosterone therapy, the strongest evidence is for sexual function," said Thomas Gill, M.D., the Humana Foundation Professor of Medicine and a lead author. The latest studies demonstrate that if a man with low serum testosterone is going to be prescribed testosterone for diminished sexual function, he may have some additional benefits on hemoglobin levels and bone density, Gill noted.

While the outcome of the cardiovascular trial raises concern, he said, a larger and longer study would be needed to determine the clinical significance of the findings.
-end-
The TTrials were conducted at 12 additional medical centers, including Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Puget Sound Health Care System, University of California at San Diego School of Medicine, University of Florida School of Medicine, University of Minnesota School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health.

The studies were funded primarily by the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Additional funding came from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, all part of NIH. Additional funding, and the study drug and placebo, were provided by AbbVie Pharmaceuticals.

Citation: JAMA and JAMA Internal Medicine

Yale University

Related Testosterone Articles:

Testosterone makes men less likely to question their impulses
A new study shows that testosterone makes men less likely to realize when they're wrong.
Testosterone treatments may increase cardiac risks
A new JAMA study found a 20 percent increase in arterial plaque among men aged 65 and older who received testosterone replacement therapy for a year,
Benefits of testosterone therapy in older men are mixed
Older men with low testosterone levels showed improved bone density and strength, as well as reduced anemia, after one year of testosterone therapy, according to a new study conducted at Yale and other sites.
Testosterone therapy provides protection against cardiovascular disease in men with low testosterone
Despite the continued controversy surrounding the use of testosterone in men who have testosterone deficiency (hypogonadism), a new study has found that long-term use of testosterone therapy not only improves vigor and vitality, but may reduce the risk of death due to cardiovascular (CV) disease.
Enzyme that digests vitamin A also may regulate testosterone levels
Bco1, an enzyme that metabolizes beta carotene, may play a vital role in testosterone metabolism as well, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of Illinois.
'Mean girl' meerkats can make twice as much testosterone as males
Testosterone. It's often lauded as the hormone that makes males bigger, bolder, stronger.
Experts take strong stance on testosterone deficiency and treatment
In an effort to address widespread concerns related to testosterone deficiency (TD) and its treatment with testosterone therapy, a group of international experts has developed a set of resolutions and conclusions to provide clarity for physicians and patients.
Scientists develop recipe for testosterone-producing cells
Researchers led by teams at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Wenzhou Medical University of China have discovered a way to keep adult stem cells that are destined to become testosterone-producing cells multiplying and on track to fulfill their fate, a new study reports.
Testosterone therapy decreases hospital readmissions in older men with low testosterone
A new large-scale population-based study from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston showed for the first time that older men using testosterone therapy were less likely to have complications that require them to go back to the hospital within a month of being discharged than men not using this therapy.
Researchers: Testosterone treatment effective for older men
As men age, their sexual function, vitality and strength can decline, but researchers had not yet established whether testosterone treatment is actually beneficial.

Related Testosterone Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Changing The World
What does it take to change the world for the better? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas on activism—what motivates it, why it matters, and how each of us can make a difference. Guests include civil rights activist Ruby Sales, labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, author Jeremy Heimans, "craftivist" Sarah Corbett, and designer and futurist Angela Oguntala.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#521 The Curious Life of Krill
Krill may be one of the most abundant forms of life on our planet... but it turns out we don't know that much about them. For a create that underpins a massive ocean ecosystem and lives in our oceans in massive numbers, they're surprisingly difficult to study. We sit down and shine some light on these underappreciated crustaceans with Stephen Nicol, Adjunct Professor at the University of Tasmania, Scientific Advisor to the Association of Responsible Krill Harvesting Companies, and author of the book "The Curious Life of Krill: A Conservation Story from the Bottom of the World".