Benefits of testosterone treatment for frailty in older men are temporary

Washington, Fri, 05 Nov 2010 ANI

Washington, Nov 5 (ANI): A new UK study found that the beneficial effects of testosterone treatment on muscle mass, strength and quality of life were not maintained at 6 months post-treatment in frail elderly men.


"Since the use of testosterone in elderly men raises concerns regarding adverse effects on the prostate and cardiovascular system, it's important to determine if short-term treatment can lead to prolonged benefits beyond the duration of testosterone exposure," said lead author Frederick Wu of the University of Manchester.


"Our findings suggest it may not be possible to break or interrupt the cycle of decline in physical function in frailty by short-term anabolic pharmacological intervention using testosterone supplementation for six months," he added.


As testosterone levels naturally decrease with aging, loss of muscle mass and function in frail elderly men may result in poor outcomes such as dependency, institutionalization, and death.


Although short-term testosterone therapy in frail elderly men has been associated with increased muscle mass and strength, it was not previously determined whether these improvements would be maintained once therapy was stopped.


In this study, 274 intermediate-frail and frail elderly men aged 65 to 90 years with low testosterone levels were assigned to receive either a testosterone gel or placebo for six months.


Evaluations took place at baseline, 6 months (end of treatment), and 12 months (6 months after treatment was stopped).


On the basis of the findings, the researchers concluded that the effects of 6 months of treatment with testosterone on muscle strength, lean mass, and quality of life in frail men are not maintained at 6 months post-treatment.


"At present, the optimal duration of anabolic hormonal intervention to produce sustained benefits in treating frailty in older men is unknown," said Wu.


"To best interrupt the downward spiral into frailty, a greater emphasis should be placed on a multidisciplinary interventional approach, including resistance exercise, diet, and other lifestyle options in conjunction with pharmacological agents," he added.


The study will appear in the February 2011 issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. (ANI)


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