Testosterone therapy in erectile dysfunction

R Shabsigh
Aging Male: the Official Journal of the International Society for the Study of the Aging Male 2004, 7 (4): 312-8
Studies in animals have indicated that the nitric oxide erectile pathway is testosterone-dependent. Castration induces erectile dysfunction and a reduction in nitric oxide synthase-stained nerves in erectile tissue. Furthermore, castration adversely affects penile hemodynamics and smooth muscle content, leading to veno-occlusive dysfunction. Testosterone replenishment reverses these physiological, biochemical and structural changes. Several clinical studies have demonstrated the benefits of a combination of testosterone and sildenafil. A recently published, multicenter study evaluated the safety and efficacy of testosterone gel 1% (Testogel; Schering AG, Germany/AndroGel; Solvay Pharmaceuticals) vs. placebo gel in conjunction with sildenafil, in producing an erectile response in hypogonadal men who did not respond to treatment with sildenafil alone for erectile dysfunction. The selection criteria required subjects to have had erectile dysfunction for at least 3 months, to be non-responsive to 100 mg sildenafil and to have low testosterone levels (< 400 ng/dl). The primary efficacy measurement was the mean change from baseline in the Erectile Function domain of the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF). Secondary outcome measures included the mean change from baseline in the other domains and the total sum of the IIEF. Subjects were randomized to receive either testosterone gel + sildenafil, or placebo gel + sildenafil for 12 weeks. Testosterone therapy with testosterone gel improved the erectile response to sildenafil. Therefore, testosterone therapy may be considered for the treatment of erectile dysfunction in men with low to low-normal testosterone levels, who have failed prior treatment with sildenafil alone. Consequently, it is important to screen for hypogonadism in men who fail PDE5 inhibitors.

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