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Testosterone and cardiovascular disease: controversy or wake-up call?

Yuen, Kevin C.J.

doi: 10.1097/XCE.0000000000000038
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In men with hypogonadism due to diseases of the hypothalamus, pituitary, or testis, testosterone therapy is generally safe and has been shown to induce beneficial effects. Conversely, in men with age-related low testosterone levels, the significance of this change and the effects of testosterone therapy are debatable. Studies have linked low testosterone levels with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, with testosterone therapy being reported to improve cardiovascular risk profiles. However, two recent retrospective studies have fueled the controversy on testosterone therapy by reporting increased cardiovascular events. Because placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trials on testosterone therapy in older men with age-related decline in testosterone levels are lacking, long-term cardiovascular health following testosterone therapy in this patient population remains unclear. Therefore, a careful approach should be adopted when considering therapy of hypogonadism and coexisting cardiovascular disease in older men. Adequately powered, long-term prospective randomized trials on testosterone in older men are urgently needed.

Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Clinical Nutrition, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon, USA

Correspondence to Kevin C.J. Yuen, MBChB, MD, FRCP (UK), Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Clinical Nutrition, Oregon Health and Science University, 3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Road, Mailcode: L607, Portland, OR 97239-3098, USA Tel: +1 503 494 0175; fax: +1 503 494 6990; e-mail: yuenk@ohsu.edu

Received March 1, 2014

Accepted June 3, 2014

© 2014Wolters Kluwer Health Lippincott Williams Wilkins
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