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Minerva Urologica e Nefrologica 2019 June;71(3):217-29

DOI: 10.23736/S0393-2249.19.03301-0


lingua: Inglese

Benefits and risks of testosterone therapy in older men

Carol CARDONA ATTARD 1, 2, Stephen FAVA 1, 2

1 Diabetes and Endocrine Center, Mater Dei Hospital, Msida, Malta; 2 Department of Medicine, University of Malta Medical School, Msida, Malta

Adult-onset hypogonadism is used to define androgen deficiency and its associated symptoms commonly occurring in middle-aged and elderly men, who are unable to mount an adequate compensatory gonadotropin response but may also have an element of testicular failure. It often occurs in relation with chronic metabolic conditions such as diabetes and the metabolic syndrome. There is a growing demand from elderly men for testosterone therapy. The physician should therefore be well-informed so as the patient can make an informed decision. Indeed, testosterone therapy in older men has been a matter of debate, especially with regard to its impact on cardiovascular events and mortality. Not all studies have reported consistent results regarding its effect on diabetes, obesity and the metabolic syndrome. In contrast, it appears to improve sexual, physical function and bone density and it does not appear to increase the risk of prostate cancer; however, it increases hematocrit and hemoglobin levels. Therefore, testosterone therapy might provide significant beneficial effects in older symptomatic hypogonadal men; treatment should be individualized, and comorbidities addressed. Further research is required into its long-term effects.

KEY WORDS: Hypogonadism; Testosterone; Hormone replacement therapy; Cardiovascular abnormalities; Mortality; Metabolic syndrome

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