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Testosterone therapy increases sexual desire in ageing men with low–normal testosterone levels and symptoms of androgen deficiency

Abstract

Although decline in sexual function is a common reason for ageing men to seek advice regarding testosterone therapy, placebo-controlled trial data have been unable to show a consistent, beneficial role for testosterone. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of testosterone therapy on sexual function in non-obese ageing men with symptoms of androgen deficiency and low–normal serum testosterone levels. A total of 60 men aged 55 years or older in good general health with total testosterone (TT) levels <15 nM, and with symptoms suggestive of androgen deficiency, were randomized in a double-blinded protocol to transdermal testosterone patches or placebo for 12 months. Sexual function was assessed using the International Index of Erectile Function at weeks 0, 26 and 52. In men receiving testosterone TT levels increased by 30% (P=0.01) and luteinizing hormone decreased by 50% (P<0.001). Relative to placebo, testosterone therapy improved sexual desire (P=0.04); however other parameters of sexual function including erectile function were unaffected by the treatment. Ageing men in good general health and with symptoms of androgen deficiency and low–normal serum testosterone levels receiving 12 months of transdermal testosterone therapy experienced, relative to placebo, improved sexual desire but no effect on other parameters of sexual function.

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Acknowledgements

Watson Laboratories Inc. (Salt Lake City, UT, USA) supplied the study medication and Professor Mark Frydenberg provided urological opinion. Professor Henry Burger provided expert advice regarding study design and analysis. Associate Professor Damien Jolley, senior biostatistician, Monash Institute of Health Services Research, provided statistical assistance. We thank the study subjects for their dedicated participation. Dr Allan received an Australian Postgraduate Award 2000 (Monash University, no. 10506136) and an NHMRC Medical Postgraduate Research Scholarship 2001–2004 (no. 169015). Professor McLachlan is a principal research fellow, NHMRC (no. 441103). This work was supported by Mayne Pharma Australia Pty Ltd.

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Correspondence to R I McLachlan.

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Allan, C., Forbes, E., Strauss, B. et al. Testosterone therapy increases sexual desire in ageing men with low–normal testosterone levels and symptoms of androgen deficiency. Int J Impot Res 20, 396–401 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1038/ijir.2008.22

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/ijir.2008.22

Keywords

  • testosterone
  • ageing
  • sexual function

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