Using testosterone doesn't make Viagra work better: study

Nov 20 (Reuters) - Using a testosterone gel in addition to

Viagra doesn't make the little blue pill work any better,

according to a U.S. study.

Studies have suggested that about one-quarter to one-third

of men with erectile dysfunction, or ED, also have low

testosterone, and the authors of the study - which appeared in

the Annals of Internal Medicine - say that a starting course of

sildenafil citrate, marketed as Viagra, helped improve sexual

function for men with both conditions.

But adding testosterone, typically prescribed to men who

have both low testosterone levels and symptoms such as little

interest in sex or low muscle and bone mass, on top of Viagra,

doesn't provide any added sexual benefits, said lead author

Matthew Spitzer, from the Boston University School of Medicine.

"Sildenafil plus testosterone was not superior to sildenafil

plus placebo in improving erectile function in men with erectile

dysfunction and low testosterone levels," Spitzer and his

colleagues wrote.

The study included 140 men, aged 40 to 70. All were

prescribed Viagra at 50 or 100 milligrams, which they took as

needed before sex. After three to seven weeks, half of the men

were randomly assigned to also use a daily testosterone gel, and

the other half used a drug-free placebo gel.

During the Viagra-only portion of the study, men's erectile

function scores improved.

On the sexual functioning scale, a score of 11-16 is

considered "moderate" erectile dysfunction and 17-21 is "mild to

moderate" dysfunction. The highest possible score, signaling no

erectile problems, is a 30.

On average, men's scores increased from 12.1 to 19.8 with

Viagra. Their testosterone levels also rose.

For men who were then given the testosterone gel,

testosterone levels increased significantly again. But neither

those men nor the ones who used the placebo gel had any further

change in their erectile function over the next three months.

There was also no difference between the two groups on

measures of sexual desire, orgasm and frequency of intercourse.

Spitzer told Reuters Health his team didn't look at the

effects of testosterone without Viagra, and it's possible the

gel would boost sexual functioning compared to no treatment.

In addition, testosterone may have other beneficial health

effects, such as on strength and body composition.

Other experts said the study didn't mean that testosterone

wouldn't help some patients.

"It doesn't mean that if the individual has either symptoms

of androgen deficiency or hypogonadism (low hormone production

from the testes) that those wouldn't get better with

testosterone," said Alvin Matsumoto, a geriatrician from the

University of Washington School of Medicine and the Seattle VA

Puget Sound Health Care System, who wasn't part of the study.

"What you don't know is if you don't respond significantly

to sildenafil and you have low testosterone, whether

testosterone wouldn't help in addition."

SOURCE: http://big.ly/MnBcCA

(Reporting from New York by Genevra Pittman at Reuters Health;

editing by Elaine Lies)

MOST POPULAR IN SCI-TECH