Washington, Jan 11: Mayo Clinic researchers have demonstrated in two new studies that availability of data supporting testosterone’s efficacy in treating sexual dysfunction and its cardiovascular safety, is very limited.
In their article, published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, they call for large studies to help clinicians and patients make informed decisions about when testosterone should be prescribed.
"One of the initial surprises is how limited the research evidence is regarding whether testosterone is an effective treatment for sexual dysfunction while being safe from the cardiovascular disease standpoint," says lead researcher Dr. Victor M. Montori, Mayo Clinic's Knowledge and Encounter Research Unit.
"There is no way for physicians to be certain when prescribing testosterone that, on average, it's doing more good than harm," he added.
The two studies conducted by the researchers were based on the review and meta-analysis of randomised trials to assess the effect of testosterone on sexual dysfunction and cardiovascular events.
During the research, they determined that no strong evidence existed showing testosterone did not cause cardiovascular harm, and that the results regarding its impact on sexual dysfunction were inconsistent.
"We found that the evidence for whether men are better off being treated with testosterone is much weaker than the evidence for giving estrogen to post-menopausal women was before the big estrogen trials came out," Dr. Montori says.
He says that despite the weak evidence supporting testosterone's efficacy, drug companies have successfully driven its sale.
He however believes that further studies are required to measure the outcomes of testosterone treatment.
"Researchers should conduct trials measuring the outcomes of testosterone treatment that are important to patients in order to avoid repeating the estrogen disaster," he says.