Testosterone Replacement Therapy: The Emperor's New Clothes

Rejuvenation Res. 2017 Feb;20(1):9-14. doi: 10.1089/rej.2016.1818. Epub 2016 Jun 3.


The mean age of the world population has steadily increased in the last decades, as a result of increased life expectancy and reduced birth rate. Global aging has led to a greater worldwide cost for healthcare: hormonal alterations contribute to the pathogenesis of several conditions and might cause a significant reduction in the perceived sense of well-being. Menopause is archetypal of hormonal alterations occurring during aging: in males, sex hormones do not decrease abruptly, yet testosterone levels decrease steadily and continuously during aging, ultimately resulting in late-onset hypogonadism. Treatment of this condition might mitigate most symptoms; however, testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) should be prescribed only in selected patients and it should not be considered as an antiaging treatment. In recent years, different authors have questioned health risks associated with testosterone treatment; while position statements from many scientific societies seem to be reassuring, the Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning in regard to the possible side effects of this therapy. We aim to review recent controversies and discoveries in regard to TRT.

Keywords: aging; andropause; cardiovascular health; hormones; prostate; testosterone.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / etiology
  • Testosterone / therapeutic use*


  • Testosterone