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HealthBrief – Testosterone Replacement Therapy & Heart Failure

Heart failure patients who take testosterone supplements may find they breathe better and are able to do more exercise, researchers from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, reported in Circulation Heart Failure in a 2012 study. The authors had gathered data on four randomized human studies of patients with moderate-to-severe chronic heart failure. They had been administered testosterone supplements by gel, patch or injection.

The results of the four studies showed that participants who had been given testosterone supplements had a 50% higher score in a six-minute walking test, compared to those on placebo.

The authors also found that 35% of patients on testosterone supplements had a 1 to 2 grade improvement in their condition, according to the New York Heart Association classification, versus just 9.8% among those not on the supplements.

Testosterone therapy helped patients gain muscle mass and skeletal endurance rapidly; a gain that persisted for at least 12 months.

Author Justin A. Ezekowitz, M.D., M.Sc., “The improvement in exercise capacity was consistent across all of the studies. Compared to patients in placebo groups, the differences were striking.”

The conclusion of the study was that given the unmet clinical needs, testosterone appears to be a promising therapy to improve functional capacity in patients with HF.

Reference: Circ Heart Fail. 2012 May 1;5(3):315-21. doi: 10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.111.965632. Epub 2012 Apr 17.

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