Testosterone in old age - an up-date
Hilbert-Walter A, Büttner R, Sieber C, Bollheimer C. Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2012 Oct;137(41):2117-22. doi: 10.1055/s-0032-1305332. Epub 2012 Oct 2.

[Article in German]


Klinik für Innere Medizin 2 - Geriatrie des Klinikums Nürnberg, Nürnberg.


Contrasting the relatively abrupt hormonal changes during female menopause, male reproductive function gradually declines during aging. This leads to the formal diagnosis of androgen deficiency in many apparently healthy 80-year-old men, when conventional thresholds are applied, and consequently to the question of androgen substitution in geriatric medicine. Although many clinical studies have documented a correlation between low plasma testosterone levels and mortality a clear causal relationship - which would imply immanent substitution therapy - has not been demonstrated. With this in mind, the diagnosis of late-onset hypogonadism (LOH) should only be made when testosterone-deficiency related symptoms concur with low testosterone levels. Which exact symptoms justify the diagnosis of LOH, however, is not sharply defined. Using criteria defined in the recent EMAS study, LOH might even be an over-diagnosed entity without huge relevance in geriatrics. Low testosterone levels are associated with frailty, but testosterone supplementation has only shown limited effects on age-related sarcopenia. Moreover: the increased incidence of cardiovascular events in the TOM study should be a caveat and lead to a moratorium for uncritical testosterone supplementation in aging men with cardiovascular diseases.