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Do Statins Lower Male Sex Drive?
Date:4/15/2010

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The Italian study also didn't have a control group of men without sexual problems, she said, so to establish any cause-effect relationship "you would have to take a group of men without erectile dysfunction and see how many are taking statins," St. Sauver said.

Men who take statins and have sexual problems shouldn't stop taking the drug, Goldstein said. "They should see a doctor for a blood test," he said. "If testosterone is low, they should not stop taking statins but should start testosterone treatment."

The Italian study is important because "it is the first to bring up this message in a large number of men," Goldstein added.

One U.S. study, reported in 2007 by the New England Research Institutes, did find lower levels of testosterone in a general population of men taking statins. But detailed analysis of the data found that the reduced levels could be explained by other factors, such as obesity and diabetes, rather than statin use.

That study was done because of reports that statins might lower the risk of prostate cancer by reducing testosterone levels. No such protective effect was found.

Several scattered studies have found a relationship between statin use and lower levels of male hormones. But definitive evidence about such a relationship would require a carefully controlled study, Goldstein said.

More information

Detailed information on statins is given by the U.S. National Library of Medicine.



SOURCES: Irwin Goldstein, M.D., director, sexual medicine, Alvarado Hospital, San Diego; Jennifer St. Sauver, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; April 2010, Journal of Sexual Medicine


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