Older Age Does Not Cause Testosterone Levels To
Decline In Healthy Men
Second study finds older men more likely to lose the
ability to orgasm due to gabapentin
June 14, 2011 - A decline in testosterone levels as
men grow older is likely the result - not the cause - of deteriorating
general health, say Australian scientists, whose new study finds that
age, in itself, has no effect on testosterone level in healthy older
The results, presented recently at The Endocrine
Society's 93rd Annual Meeting in Boston, are the first findings released
from the Healthy Man Study, according to principal investigator David
Handelsman, MD, PhD, professor and director of the ANZAC Research
Institute at the University of Sydney.
"Some researchers believe that an age-related
testosterone deficiency contributes to the deteriorating health of older
men and causes nonspecific symptoms, such as tiredness and loss of
libido," he said.
Handelsman and his team, however, found that serum
(blood) testosterone levels did not decline with increasing age in older
men who reported being in excellent health with no symptoms to complain
"We had originally expected age to have an effect
on serum testosterone, so the findings were a bit of a surprise,"
Two study centers in Australia recruited 325 men
over the age of 40 (median age, 60) who had self-reported excellent
health and no symptom complaints. To test blood testosterone levels, the
researchers took blood samples from the men nine times over three
months. They excluded men from the study who took medications that
Obesity caused a mild and clinically unimportant
lowering of blood testosterone levels, the investigators reported. Age
had no effect on testosterone level.
"The modest decline in blood testosterone among
older men, usually coupled with nonspecific symptoms, such as easy
fatigue and low sexual desire, may be due to symptomatic disorders that
accumulate during aging, including obesity and heart disease," he said.
"It does not appear to be a hormone deficiency state."
The message for patients and their doctors,
Handelsman said, is "older men with low testosterone levels do not need
testosterone therapy unless they have diseases of their pituitary or
This research was supported by the MBF (Medical
Benefits Fund) Foundation in Sydney, which is part of the private health
Older men more likely to lose the
ability to orgasm due to gabapentin
Researchers, in another recent study, have found
that Gabapentin, (trade name Neurontin) a medication commonly used to
treat neuropathic pain, seizures and biopolar disease in older and
elderly patients, seems to have a higher incidence of failure to
experience orgasm (anorgasmia), than previously reported.
This study from Boston University School of
Medicine (BUSM) appears in the current issue of the American Journal
of Geriatric Pharmacotherapy.
Anticonvulsants are the fastest growing prescribed
medication in the baby boomer generation. In patients 44-82 years old,
anticonvulsants are more commonly prescribed than opioids. Gabapentin is
a preferred medication, given its perceived benign side effects,
typically limited to somnolence and dizziness that resolve with time.
Since its introduction in 1993, only 10 cases of
anorgasmia have been reported, mostly in younger patients with an
average age of 38 years. In this case study, three of the 11 patients
who were over the age of 50 experienced anorgasmia.
These male patients were 73, 76 and 78 years old.
Interestingly, another case in a 59-year-old female was noted by
colleagues at Tufts Medical Center.
"This is a much higher incidence than was reported
in the original clinical trials. Gabapentin induced anorgasmia may be
more common in older patients," according to lead author Michael D.
Perloff, MD, PhD, an assistant professor neurology at BUSM. "Further,
anorgasmia appears to be dose dependent. In all cases orgasm returned
when Gabapentin was reduced or stopped."
The researcher recommends that clinicians should
review the potential for anorgasmia with patients taking Gabapentin or
discuss it at follow up.
"If anorgasmia does occur, patients should be
reassured that it is reversible and likely dose dependent," added
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