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Testosterone gel replacement improves sexual function in depressed men taking serotonergic antidepressants: a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial.

Author(s): Amiaz R, Pope HG Jr, Mahne T, Kelly JF, Brennan BP, Kanayama G, Weiser M, Hudson JI, Seidman SN

Affiliation(s): The Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel.

Publication date & source: 2011-07, J Sex Marital Ther., 37(4):243-54.

Publication type: Multicenter Study; Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Testosterone replacement is the most effective treatment for sexual dysfunction in hypogonadal men. Comorbid depression and antidepressant side effects may reduce its influence. The authors conducted a 6-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of testosterone gel versus placebo gel in men with major depressive disorder who were currently taking a serotonergic antidepressant and exhibited low or low-normal testosterone level. A total of 100 men were enrolled at 2 study sites (Boston, Massachusetts, USA, and Tel Aviv, Israel). The effects of testosterone augmentation on sexual functioning were determined using domain scores on the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF). Complete pre- and posttrial IIEF data were available for 63 subjects. Men randomized to testosterone (n = 31) and placebo (n = 32) were similar in age, baseline testosterone levels, and baseline IIEF scores. At study termination, men randomized to placebo showed virtually no change from baseline in mean (95% CI) IIEF score (-0.7 [-6.5, 5.2]), whereas those receiving testosterone exhibited a substantial increase (15.8 [8.5, 23.1]). The estimated mean difference between groups was 16.8 [7.5, 26.1]; p = .001 by linear regression with adjustment for age and study site. There were also significant between-group differences in each of the 5 IIEF subscales, as well as on the single question involving ejaculatory ability (p </= .03 in all cases). Effect sizes in these comparisons remained little changed, and generally remained statistically significant, when we further adjusted for change in depression scores on the Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale. It is notable that the subgroup of men with the highest baseline testosterone levels showed virtually the same improvement as those with lower levels, suggesting that the observed improvement was unlikely to be due simply to correction of hypogonadism alone. In depressed men with low or low-normal testosterone levels who continued to take serotonergic antidepressants, treatment with exogenous testosterone was associated with a significant improvement in sexual function, particularly including ejaculatory ability.

Page last updated: 2011-12-09

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