Testosterone Therapy

Testosterone Therapy

Endocrine News. June 2006

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Prescriptions for testosterone nearly doubled last year, with sales greater than $500 million in America alone. Millions of aging men take testosterone to increase muscle mass, decrease fat, spark waning libidos and jump-start energy levels. Possible side effects, such as prostate cancer and elevated hematocrit (thick blood), make some physicians wary of pre- scribing testosterone.

The Endocrine Society issued guidelines for testosterone treatment, Symptoms of testosterone deficiency include reduced sexual desire, erection problems, decreased body hair, small testes, reproductive difficulties, loss of height, reduced muscle mass and depression. Determine blood testosterone in a morning blood sample when screening for testosterone deficiency. Testosterone therapy isn't recommended for men with prostate or breast cancer, a PSA greater than three (prostate screening tool), hematocrit greater than 50, sleep apnea or heart failure. Therapy should restore testosterone levels to the mid-normal range.

Physicians should monitor patients regularly for side effects.

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