Testosterone treatment and sexual function in older men with low testosterone levels

Academic Article


  • Context: The Testosterone Trials are a coordinated set of seven trials to determine the efficacy of T in symptomatic men ≥65 years old with unequivocally low T levels. Initial results of the Sexual Function Trial showed that T improved sexual activity, sexual desire, and erectile function. Objective: To assess the responsiveness of specific sexual activities to T treatment; to relate hormone changes to changes in sexual function; and to determine predictive baseline characteristics and T threshold for sexual outcomes. Design: A placebo-controlled trial. Setting: Twelve academic medical centers in the United States. Participants: A total of 470 men ≥65 years of age with low libido, average T <275 ng/dL, and a partner willing to have sexual intercourse at least twice a month. Methods: Men were assigned to take T gel or placebo for 1 year. Sexual function was assessed by three questionnaires every 3 months: the Psychosexual Daily Questionnaire, the Derogatis Interview for Sexual Function, and the International Index of Erectile Function. Results: Compared with placebo, T administration significantly improved 10 of 12 measures of sexual activity. Incremental increases in total and free T and estradiol levels were associated with improvements in sexual activityanddesire, but not erectile function.Nothreshold T levelwasobserved for any outcome, and none of the 27 baseline characteristics predicted responsiveness to T. Conclusions: In older men with low libido and low T levels, improvements in sexual desire and activity in response to T treatment were related to the magnitude of increases in T and estradiol levels, but there was no clear evidence of a threshold effect.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Cunningham GR; Stephens-Shields AJ; Rosen RC; Wang C; Bhasin S; Matsumoto AM; Parsons JK; Gill TM; Molitch ME; Farrar JT
  • Start Page

  • 3096
  • End Page

  • 3104
  • Volume

  • 101
  • Issue

  • 8