EMAS position statement: Testosterone replacement therapy in older men.
Kanakis GA., Pofi R., Goulis DG., Isidori AM., Armeni E., Erel CT., Fistonić I., Hillard T., Hirschberg A-L., Meczekalski B., Mendoza N., Mueck AO., Simoncini T., Stute P., van Dijken D., Rees M., Lambrinoudaki I.
INTRODUCTION: Late-onset hypogonadism is the clinical entity characterised by low testosterone concentrations associated with clinical symptoms in the absence of organic disease in ageing men. It has been associated with metabolic syndrome, reduced bone mineral density, and increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality risk. Although testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) reverses most of these conditions in young hypogonadal men, the risk/benefit ratio of TRT in older men is debatable. AIM: To update the 2015 EMAS statement on TRT in older men with new research on late-onset hypogonadism and TRT. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Literature review and consensus of expert opinion. SUMMARY RECOMMENDATIONS: TRT should be offered only to symptomatic older men with confirmed low testosterone concentrations after explaining the uncertainties regarding the long-term safety of this treatment. TRT may be offered to men with severe hypogonadism and erectile dysfunction to improve sexual desire, erectile, and orgasmic function. It should also be considered in hypogonadal men with severe insulin resistance or pre-diabetes mellitus. TRT may also be considered, in combination with proven treatment strategies, for osteoporosis, or for selected patients with persistent mild depressive symptoms and/or low self-perceived quality of life, combined with standard medical care for each condition. TRT is contraindicated in hypogonadal men actively seeking fertility treatment. Due to a lack of data, TRT should not be routinely used in older men to improve exercise capacity/physical function, improve cognitive function, or prevent cognitive decline. TRT must be avoided in older, frail men with known breast cancer or untreated prostate cancer and all men who have had myocardial infarction or stroke within the last four months, and those with severe or decompensated heart failure. The quality of evidence regarding patients with previous prostate cancer or cardiovascular disease is too low to draw definitive conclusions. Any limits on duration of use are arbitrary, and treatment should continue for as long as the man feels the benefits outweigh the risks for him, and decisions must be made on an individual basis. Withdrawal should be considered when hypogonadism is reversed after the resolution of underlying disorder. Short-acting transdermal preparations should be preferred for TRT initiation in older men, but injectable forms may be considered subsequently. Older men on TRT should be monitored at 3, 6, and 12 months after initiation and at least yearly thereafter, or earlier and more frequently if indicated. Evaluation should include assessment of the clinical response, and measurement of total testosterone, haematocrit, and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) concentrations. Bone density and/or quality should also be assessed. Obese and overweight patients should be encouraged to undergo lifestyle modifications, including exercise and weight loss, to increase endogenous testosterone.