Testosterone supplements may help heart failure patients

Testosterone supplements helped heart failure patients breathe better and exercise more, according to research in Circulation Heart Failure, an American Heart Association journal.

Researchers analyzed four randomized clinical trials of patients with moderate to severe . Patients were given commercial testosterone supplements by injection, patch or gel.

Based on the analysis of these studies, those who received supplemental testosterone scored 50 percent better in a six-minute walking test than those receiving placebo.

Also, in two of the studies, the severity of heart failure as measured by the New York Heart Association classification system improved one to two grades in 35 percent of treated patients compared to 9.8 percent of those who didn't receive the supplements. Researchers noted gains in muscle and skeletal endurance that appeared quickly and lasted for a least one year.

"The improvement in was consistent across all of the studies," said Justin A. Ezekowitz, M.D., M.Sc., study author and assistant professor and director of the Clinic at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. "Compared to patients in placebo groups, the differences were striking."

If the findings are confirmed in larger clinical trials, testosterone therapy could be one of the first therapies targeting the peripheral (skeletal) muscle rather than the cardiac muscle, he said.

The studies included 198 patients, 84 percent men, averaging 67 years of age. One study exclusively in women who were taking lower doses of testosterone than men, found similar improvements.

No significant adverse events were reported, including treatment- or exercise-related cardiovascular events, and there was no increase in prostate cancer or abnormal prostate health parameters in the men.

While the results are encouraging, larger studies are needed as well as studies of the various testosterone delivery methods, Ezekowitz said. "We don't want patients and their loved ones rushing to buy testosterone supplements online, or physicians to misinterpret the findings. First the results need to be corroborated in large clinical trials."

Related Stories

Heart failure patients have higher risk of fractures

date Oct 20, 2008

Heart failure patients are at higher risk for fractures, including debilitating hip fractures, than other heart patients and should be screened and treated for osteoporosis, Canadian researchers reported in Circulation: Jo ...

Targeting leg fatigue in heart failure

date Oct 31, 2011

Doctors should not only treat the heart muscle in chronic heart failure patients, but also their leg muscles through exercise, say researchers in a study published today in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Recommended for you

Cognitive impairment predicts worse outcome in heart failure

date 15 hours ago

Cognitive impairment predicts worse outcome in elderly heart failure patients, reveals research presented today at Heart Failure 2015 by Hiroshi Saito, a physiotherapist at Kameda Medical Centre in Kamogawa, Japan. Patients ...

1950s drug is future heart treatment

date May 22, 2015

Oxford University researchers have found a promising future treatment for heart disease, going back to a drug first developed in 1950.

Time is muscle in acute heart failure

date May 21, 2015

Urgent diagnosis and treatment in acute heart failure has been emphasised for the first time in joint recommendations published today in European Heart Journal.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.