As there is no conclusive evidence that the syndrome, also called late onset hypogonadism exists, using synthetic testosterone to fight symptoms of the so-called 'male menopause' is questionable, warns a new review.
Debate has raged around the possibility of a male menopause for decades.
AdvertisementSome have linked falling testosterone levels, which occur naturally with age to symptoms including a low sex drive, depression and diminished strength.
However, levels of the hormone fall only slightly, and many who claim to suffer symptoms have normal testosterone levels.
In addition, low testosterone levels can leave no symptoms at all. estosterone levels fall by around 1 to 2 per cent a year in men from the age of 40 onwards, says an article in the journal Drugs and Therapeutics Bulletin.
But developing low levels of the hormone is not inevitable.
Around 8 in 10 60-year-olds still have normal testosterone levels.
Some studies suggest that giving patients testosterone can have some effect on bone density.
But the hormone can also have a number of unwanted side-effects.
These can include an increased risk of prostate cancer and the development of breasts.
Testosterone can also aggravate heart disease, epilepsy and sleep problems.
The article warns: "Clinicians should not offer testosterone therapy without explicit discussion of the uncertainty about its risks and benefits in this population."
It concludes: "There is no place for testosterone therapy in older men without symptoms, or without clearly low testosterone concentrations on more than one occasion."
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