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Supplementary testosterone helps men with angina to exercise for longer

A clinical study published in the European Journal of Endocrinology has shown that treatment (injections) with supplementary testosterone (Nebido®) enabled men with low testosterone levels who suffer from angina to exercise for longer before feeling uncomfortable.

Men in the group also lost weight, although not to a significant extent, compared to a similar, well matched group of men not receiving the treatment (the placebo group).

This is the longest study investigating testosterone therapy in patients with long term (or chronic) angina.

Key findings

  • During exercise on a treadmill, men in the group given supplementary testosterone (rather than placebo, or a dummy drug) were able to exercise for longer before experiencing chest pain. This reflects an increase in their capacity to exercise.
  • Men in the testosterone group significantly improved their capability of undertaking exercise as measured by their ‘peak metabolic equivalents’ (or METS). These improvements persisted throughout the trial period.
  • The study also suggested that there may be some benefits from testosterone injections to a condition that causes narrowing of the arteries supplying blood to the brain (so called carotid atheroma). Further research is needed before this benefit can be firmly established.
  • There were no adverse effects to patients involved in the trial.

Source: Long term benefits of testosterone replacement therapy on angina threshold and atheroma in men. Mathur A, Malkin C, Saeed B et al. European Journal of Endocrinology. 2009;161;443 –449.

Background information

Angina is a heart pain linked to the narrowing of the arteries in the heart. Narrow arteries reduce the availability of blood to the heart. This is a particular problem when taking exercise as more blood and oxygen is needed by the body than when at rest. When people with angina exercise they can experience a severe pain in their heart.

Testosterone is an essential male hormone, produced in the testes in a man, which helps to keep our minds and bodies functioning properly.

The testosterone level in men is associated with the risk of heart disease – the lower the testosterone the higher the risk of mortality. There is no evidence of high levels of testosterone being associated with this risk.

Low testosterone (T) levels (also called hypogonadism) can occur at any age. T levels naturally decline in men after the age of 40 – boosting testosterone levels in men (with lower T levels than normal) can potentially lead to some beneficial effects. This is what the authors of this study found.

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Last updated: 2019