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Testosterone Use for Aging Questioned

Mayo Clinic Study Shows Little Known About Risks, Benefits

The Lesson of Estrogen continued...

"I would contend that the quality of the evidence that we have about the safety and efficacy of testosterone therapy is much weaker than the evidence that we had when we were prescribing estrogen for just about everything," he says.

In a review of the research published late in 2003, an expert panel convened by the Institute of Medicine also found little evidence of the effectiveness and long-term safety of testosterone therapy in healthy, aging men.

That group called for large studies designed to examine the risks and benefits of testosterone therapy for such men.

Dan G. Blazer, MD, of Duke University, who lead the panel, tells WebMD we know little more about these risks and benefits today than we did three years ago.

"We don't have a clear picture of side effects, so we can't say that this drug is dangerous," he says.

"But, on the other hand, we don't have a lot of evidence that it is effective," says Blazer. "My concern is that its use as an antiaging drug will explode before we have the answers."

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