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Men's Sexual Health Expert Dr. Ridwan Shabsigh Discusses Testosterone Therapy for Men

Weighing the Pro's and Con's in Using Hormones to Treat Testosterone Deficiency, Erectile Dysfunction and Decreased Libido

NEW YORK, NY - (Marketwire - December 14, 2010) - A 2009 federally financed study of testosterone therapy for men with sexual dysfunction uncovered an unexpectedly high rate of cardiac problems. However, researchers now believe that the study participants, particularly those that received testosterone, already had high rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and elevated blood lipids. "This study still begs the question if testosterone therapy is more harm than help when it comes to treating testosterone deficiency or testosterone deficiency-associated erectile dysfunction," said Dr. Ridwan Shabsigh, director of the Division of Urology at Maimonides Medical Center.

A study is under way to determine if testosterone therapy will aid 800 men, aged 65 and older, who have low levels of the hormone, going through what sometimes is called "andropause" (male menopause) and are experiencing problems with physical functions, chronic fatigue, low libido and erectile dysfunction. Though it will be randomized, it will not be controlled to determine if the hormone is safe to use long-term as would be required to maintain the positive effects. It is also unclear if prolonged use would promote the incidence of prostate cancer, which could be already present but undetected, as is seen in as many as half in this age group.

"Men mainly look to testosterone therapy for testosterone deficiency-associated erectile dysfunction treatment or issues with low libido, but the effectiveness of the hormone on sexual issues is consistent," said Dr. Ridwan, a penile prosthesis expert. A yearlong trial therapy would be needed to see if sexual function or erectile dysfunction problems improve. There is substantiated evidence that testosterone can improve muscle mass and strength as well as increase bone density in men. Other benefits include decreased body fat, cholesterol and improved blood sugar metabolism.

Dr. Ridwan has used topical, injectable and implanted testosterone supplements to stimulate the body's production of testosterone on his patients with great success. However, he advises that men with prostate cancer, breast cancer or those who are trying to conceive a baby should not use testosterone therapy. "Right now, science has not given us an adequate long-term testosterone treatment study," said Dr. Ridwan. "And as a result, doctors are not sure how to advise patients on the therapy, so starting cautiously and monitoring patients on testosterone therapy is best for patients."

Dr. Ridwan Shabsigh

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