What are the benefits and harms of testosterone therapy for male sexual dysfunction?—a systematic review Journal Articles uri icon

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  • The role of Testosterone Therapy (TTh) in the management of male sexual dysfunction remains unclear. Objective of the authors was to systematically review the relevant literature assessing the benefits and harms of TTh in men with sexual dysfunction. EMBASE, MEDLINE, Cochrane Systematic Reviews-Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (Cochrane HTA, DARE, HEED), Google Scholar, WHO international Clinical Trials Registry Platform Search Portal, CINAHL databases and clinicaltrial.gov were searched systematically in March 2015 and an updated search was performed in March 2016. Randomized and non-randomized comparative studies assessing the benefits and harms of TTh in hypogonadal, borderline eugonadal and eugonadal men suffering from sexual dysfunction were included. Risk of bias and confounding assessments were performed. A narrative synthesis was undertaken. Of the 6410 abstracts identified, 36 studies were judged to be eligible for inclusion, including 25 randomized clinical trials (RCTs) and 11 non-randomized comparative studies (NRCSs), recruiting a total of 4944 patients. RCTs were judged to have low or unclear risk of bias, while NRCSs had high risk of bias and thus, overall quality of evidence was judged to be at least unclear. Based on the evidence mainly provided by the RCTs included in this systematic review, TTh could be considered for men with low or low-normal testosterone levels and problems with their sexual desire, erectile function and satisfaction derived from intercourse and overall sexual life. The exact testosterone formulation, dosage and duration of treatment remain to be clarified, while the safety profile of TTh also remains unclear. TTh could be used with caution in hypogonadal and most probably borderline eugonadal men to manage disorders of sexual desire, erectile function and sexual satisfaction. The overall low-to-moderate evidence quality highlights the need for robust and adequately designed clinical trials.


  • Yuan, Yuhong
  • Dimitropoulos, Konstantinos
  • Verze, Paolo
  • Van den Broeck, Thomas
  • Salonia, Andrea
  • Yuan, Cathy Yuhong
  • Hatzimouratidis, Konstantinos
  • Dohle, Gert

publication date

  • November 2019