The evolving role of testosterone in the treatment of erectile dysfunction

R Shabsigh, J Rajfer, A Aversa, A M Traish, A Yassin, S Y Kalinchenko, J Buvat
International Journal of Clinical Practice 2006, 60 (9): 1087-92
Hypogonadism may play a significant role in the pathophysiology of erectile dysfunction (ED). A threshold level of testosterone may be necessary for normal erectile function. Testosterone replacement therapy is indicated in hypogonadal patients and is beneficial in patients with ED and hypogonadism. Monotherapy with testosterone for ED is of limited effectiveness and may be most promising in young patients with hypogonadism and without vascular risk factors for ED. A number of laboratory and human studies have shown the combination of testosterone and other ED treatments, such as phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors, to be beneficial in patients with ED and hypogonadism, who fail PDE5 inhibitor therapy alone. There is increasing evidence that combination therapy is effective in treating the symptoms of ED in patients for whom treatment failed with testosterone or PDE5 inhibitors alone. Testosterone replacement therapy has potentially evolved from a monotherapy for ED in cases of low testosterone, to a combination therapy with PDE5 inhibitors. Screening for hypogonadism may be useful in men with ED who fail prior PDE5 inhibitors, especially in populations at risk for hypogonadism such as type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome.

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