Objective: Although androgen replacement has been shown to have beneficial effects in hypogonadal men, there is concern that androgens may deleteriously affect cardiovascular risk in elderly men.
Design: Anastrozole is an oral aromatase inhibitor that normalizes serum testosterone levels and decreases oestradiol levels modestly in elderly men with mild hypogonadism. Thirty-seven elderly hypogonadal men were randomized to receive either anastrozole 1 mg daily (n = 12), anastrozole 1 mg twice weekly (n = 11), or daily placebo (n = 14) for 12 weeks in a double-blind fashion.
Patients: Men aged 62-74 years with mild hypogonadism defined by testosterone levels less than 350 ng/dl.
Measurements: Serum levels of fasting lipids, C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) and homeostatic model assessment (HOMA) scores were measured at 4-week intervals.
Results: Treatment with anastrozole did not significantly affect fasting lipids, inflammatory markers (IL-6, CRP), adhesion molecules (ICAM-1, VCAM-1) or insulin sensitivity (HOMA). There was, however, a positive correlation between changes in serum triglycerides and changes in serum oestradiol levels (P = 0.04).
Conclusions: While short-term administration of anastrozole is an effective method of normalizing serum testosterone levels in elderly men with mild hypogonadism, it does not appear to adversely affect lipid profiles, inflammatory markers of cardiovascular risk or insulin resistance.