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Testosterone improves symptoms in elderly men with chronic heart failure

Chronic heart failure (CHF) is a medical condition where the heart cannot pump enough blood around the body. This can lead to muscle weakness. Common symptoms include shortness of breath and inability to exercise. Many patients with CHF also have low testosterone levels and studies have suggested that testosterone treatment may improve some symptoms of CHF.

This well designed study looked at the benefits of long-acting (injected) testosterone in elderly men with CHF. After only 12 weeks of treatment (3 injections) there were marked improvements in muscle strength and ability to exercise that were not seen in patients who received a sham injection (placebo group). In addition, testosterone treatment led to an improvement in the way the body uses insulin (important in metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes).

Testosterone treatment was found to be safe in these frail patients who were already receiving multiple medications for heart failure.

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Source: Effect of long-acting testosterone treatment on functional exercise capacity, skeletal muscle performance, insulin resistance, and baroreflex sensitivity in elderly patients with chronic heart failure. Caminiti G, Volterrani M, Iellamo F, et al. J Am Coll Cardiol 2009; 54(10): 919-927

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Last updated: 2019