Testosterone may help some heart patients

Recommended by Dr. Michael White, Published on January 29th, 2013

Testosterone supplements may improve the quality of life for patients who have a certain heart condition, a new study says.

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In the study, testosterone patches and injections improved the breathing and exercise abilities of people with heart failure, a chronic inability of the heart to pump enough blood to the rest of the body.

Although most of the study participants were men, the researchers said the results would likely apply to women as well, through much smaller doses of testosterone.

Some heart failure patients have symptoms even after standard therapies, such as drugs called beta blockers and ACE inhibitors, said study researcher Dr. Justin Ezekowitz. An inability to exercise is one of the hallmark symptoms of heart failure, Ezekowitz said.

"They physically cannot walk as far or as fast or as much as they could when they were healthy," Ezekowitz said.

"Testosterone appears to be a promising therapy" to improve exercise ability in heart failure patients, the researchers said.

However, Ezekowitz said patients should not start using testosterone supplements based on these results. Larger studies would be needed to confirm the findings and figure out which method of delivery is best and what doses are appropriate.

Testosterone and heart failure Ezekowitz and colleagues analyzed data from four previous studies in which patients were randomly assigned to receive either testosterone therapy or a placebo for 12 to 52 weeks. About 200 patients in total participated; their average age was 67, and 84 percent were men. Patients were also taking standard medical treatments for heart failure.

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Testosterone may help some heart patients

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