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Low-Dose Transdermal Testosterone Therapy Improves Angina Threshold In Men With Chronic Stable Angina

Katherine M. English, Richard P. Steeds, T. Hugh Jones, Michael J. Diver, Kevin S. Channer

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Background —Experimental studies suggest that androgens induce coronary vasodilatation. We performed this pilot project to examine the clinical effects of long-term low-dose androgens in men with angina. Methods and Results —Forty-six men with stable angina completed a 2-week, single-blind placebo run-in, followed by double-blind randomization to 5 mg testosterone daily by transdermal patch or matching placebo for 12 weeks, in addition to their current medication. Time to 1-mm ST-segment depression on treadmill exercise testing and hormone levels were measured and quality of life was assessed by SF-36 at baseline and after 4 and 12 weeks of treatment. Active treatment resulted in a 2-fold increase in androgen levels and an increase in time to 1-mm ST-segment depression from (mean±SEM) 309±27 seconds at baseline to 343±26 seconds after 4 weeks and to 361±22 seconds after 12 weeks. This change was statistically significant compared with that seen in the placebo group (from 266±25 seconds at baseline to 284±23 seconds after 4 weeks and to 292±24 seconds after 12 weeks; P =0.02 between the 2 groups by ANCOVA). The magnitude of the response was greater in those with lower baseline levels of bioavailable testosterone ( r =−0.455, P <0.05). There were no significant changes in prostate specific antigen, hemoglobin, lipids, or coagulation profiles during the study. There were significant improvements in pain perception ( P =0.026) and role limitation resulting from physical problems ( P =0.024) in the testosterone-treated group. Conclusions —Low-dose supplemental testosterone treatment in men with chronic stable angina reduces exercise-induced myocardial ischemia.