Statins May Lower Testosterone, Libido
Men With Erectile Dysfunction on Statin Therapy Are Twice as Likely to Have Low Testosterone, Study Finds
Statins, Testosterone, and ED: Other Views
''This is huge," says Irwin Goldstein, MD, director of sexual medicine at Alvarado Hospital in San Diego and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
The study results, he says, demonstrate the need for more study to replicate the finding and figure out the reason for the link.
According to the authors, he says, the best explanation for now is that "statins may disrupt the pituitary feedback to the testicles, telling them to produce testosterone."
For consumers, he says, the message is for men on statins to pay attention to early warning signs of testosterone deficiency. That includes falling asleep after meals when they did not in the past, noticing poorer athletic performance, having a change from an upbeat mood to a grumpy mood, and experiencing a reduced sex drive, Goldstein says.
If a man suspects testosterone deficiency, Goldstein says he should ask his doctor about checking his testosterone levels.
Statins and Testosterone: Industry Input
In a prepared statement, Sally Beatty, a spokeswoman for Pfizer, the manufacturer of Lipitor, says, "Millions of people have been prescribed Lipitor, which is clinically proven to lower bad cholesterol levels 39%-60% (this is an average effect depending on dose), when diet and exercise aren't enough."
The label on Lipitor does warn of the possibility of interference with hormone production, she says. "As described in the Lipitor U.S. prescribing information, statins interfere with cholesterol synthesis and theoretically might blunt adrenal and/or gonadal steroid production."
But she says, "It is important to note that some other studies and analyses have shown that Lipitor does not have an effect on levels of testosterone or other reproductive steroid hormones."
Spokesman Lee Davies of Merck and Schering-Plough, which make Zocor and Vytorin, had no comment on the study, but says neither of its two statin labels refers to low testosterone.