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Testosterone supplements don't help Viagra with erections: study

November 19, 2012|By Jon Bardin
  • Adding testosterone to Viagra does nothing to improve the likelihood of successful erections, sexual performance or physical intimacy, according to a new study.
Adding testosterone to Viagra does nothing to improve the likelihood of… (Daniel Acker / Bloomberg…)

So much for that oft-hyped magical bullet of masculinity: For men with erectile dysfunction, adding testosterone to Viagra does nothing to improve the likelihood of successful erections, sexual performance or physical intimacy, according to a new study.

Men with ED often have low testosterone levels as well. What's more, testosterone is a well-known regulator of sexual motivation, and animal studies have consistently shown that testosterone plays a role in blood flow to the penis and other biological processes thought to be related to successful erections. Such research has led many experts to suggest testosterone replacement as a potential therapy for ED in conjunction with currently approved treatments like Viagra. (Viagra, which is generically called sildenafil, works by preventing the destruction of a molecule that regulates blood flow in the penis.)

But the results of the new study suggest testosterone has no effect on erections, or any other domain of a research instrument called the Male Sexual Health Questionnaire.

The study followed 140 patients with ED, 70 of whom were given sildenafil and a testosterone gel, and 70 of whom were given sildenafil and a placebo. While measurements clearly showed that the biological levels of testosterone went up for the group that used the gel and not for the placebo group, there was no difference in any of the questionnaire responses, suggesting the additional treatment had no effect.

Nevertheless, the researchers stress that low testosterone levels can cause damage to quality of life and physical health in other ways, including impaired cognition and reduced muscle mass, so men with low levels of testosterone may still wish to take it.

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