HEALTH FEATURE ARCHIVE

Men Rush Into Testosterone But...

Quote: Can American men be rushing into the same reckless use of hormones that brought grief and anxiety to so many unsuspecting women? That disquieting possibility is raised by a new report that laments a huge upsurge in testosterone replacement therapy for men despite a paucity (small quantity) of evidence that it is safe or beneficial. One wonders whether another medical debacle is in the making. (The lead editorial, The New York Times, Nov. 13, 2003)

Comment: The annual market for testosterone replacement is estimated at $400 million and growing. Can common sense and caution prevail when that kind of money is at stake? and when eternal youth may be captured in a pill?

Barbara K. Hecht, Ph.D.
Frederick Hecht, M.D.
Medical Editors, MedicineNet.com


Testosterone Therapy Studies Should Determine Benefits First, Then Risks; Study Participants Should Be Limited, Carefully Screened

WASHINGTON -- After evaluating the pros and cons of conducting a large-scale clinical study of testosterone therapy to treat age-related conditions in men 65 and older, an expert committee of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies recommended going forward with trials, but only with a limited group of participants and in a stepwise fashion. Initial studies should focus on determining the efficacy of testosterone therapy in older men and the nature and extent of the potential benefits. A large-scale trial to determine long-term risks and effectiveness should be undertaken only if clinically significant benefits are demonstrated in the initial, shorter studies. The studies should involve only older men who have been diagnosed with low testosterone levels and at least one symptom that might be remedied by the therapy, and who are not at high risk for developing prostate cancer, says the committee's report.