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Testosterone Effects Do Not Last in Frail Elderly Men

Muscle strength, lean mass, and quality-of-life increases not sustained after treatment ends

FRIDAY, Nov. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Improvements in muscle strength, lean mass, and quality of life (QoL) among frail elderly men during six months of testosterone treatment are not maintained six months after discontinuation of treatment, according to a study published online Nov. 17 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, Matthew D.L. O'Connell, of the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, and colleagues evaluated 274 intermediate-frail and frail men, 65 to 90 years of age, with low testosterone levels to assess the effects of testosterone (25 to 75 mg daily) on muscle strength, body composition, physical function, and QoL at the end of six months of treatment and then at six months after treatment ends.

Among patients treated with testosterone, the investigators found that mean testosterone increased from 11.1 nmol/L at baseline to 18.4 nmol/L at six months, and then declined to 10.5 nmol/L at 12 months. During treatment, isometric knee extension peak torque and lean mass increased in the testosterone-treated group, with somatic and sexual symptoms improved among those treated with testosterone. However, none of these differences between the testosterone- and placebo-treated groups remained at 12 months. In addition, prostate-specific antigen levels and hematocrit slightly increased over the course of treatment but returned to baseline by 12 months.

"In summary, the effects of testosterone treatment on body composition, muscle strength and QoL did not persist by six months after treatment withdrawal in intermediate-frail and frail elderly men," the authors write.

The study was sponsored by Bayer Schering Pharma, with two authors disclosing financial ties to the company. One author also disclosed financial ties to other pharmaceutical companies.

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