Testosterone therapy in adult men with androgen deficiency syndromes: an endocrine society clinical practice guideline

Shalender Bhasin, Glenn R Cunningham, Frances J Hayes, Alvin M Matsumoto, Peter J Snyder, Ronald S Swerdloff, Victor M Montori
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2006, 91 (6): 1995-2010

OBJECTIVE: The objective was to provide guidelines for the evaluation and treatment of androgen deficiency syndromes in adult men.

PARTICIPANTS: The Task Force was composed of a chair, selected by the Clinical Guidelines Subcommittee of The Endocrine Society, five additional experts, a methodologist, and a professional writer. The Task Force received no corporate funding or remuneration.

EVIDENCE: The Task Force used systematic reviews of available evidence to inform its key recommendations. The Task Force used consistent language and graphical descriptions of both the strength of recommendation and the quality of evidence, using the recommendations of the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation group.

CONSENSUS PROCESS: Consensus was guided by systematic reviews of evidence and discussions during three group meetings, several conference calls, and e-mail communications. The drafts prepared by the panelists with the help of a professional writer were reviewed successively by The Endocrine Society's Clinical Guidelines Subcommittee, Clinical Affairs Committee, and Council. The version approved by the Council was placed on The Endocrine Society's web site for comments by members. At each stage of review, the Task Force received written comments and incorporated needed changes.

CONCLUSIONS: We recommend making a diagnosis of androgen deficiency only in men with consistent symptoms and signs and unequivocally low serum testosterone levels. We suggest the measurement of morning total testosterone level by a reliable assay as the initial diagnostic test. We recommend confirmation of the diagnosis by repeating the measurement of morning total testosterone and in some patients by measurement of free or bioavailable testosterone level, using accurate assays. We recommend testosterone therapy for symptomatic men with androgen deficiency, who have low testosterone levels, to induce and maintain secondary sex characteristics and to improve their sexual function, sense of well-being, muscle mass and strength, and bone mineral density. We recommend against starting testosterone therapy in patients with breast or prostate cancer, a palpable prostate nodule or induration or prostate-specific antigen greater than 3 ng/ml without further urological evaluation, erythrocytosis (hematocrit > 50%), hyperviscosity, untreated obstructive sleep apnea, severe lower urinary tract symptoms with International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS) greater than 19, or class III or IV heart failure. When testosterone therapy is instituted, we suggest aiming at achieving testosterone levels during treatment in the mid-normal range with any of the approved formulations, chosen on the basis of the patient's preference, consideration of pharmacokinetics, treatment burden, and cost. Men receiving testosterone therapy should be monitored using a standardized plan.

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