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Testosterone for Women
November 2002

Q. Can you name me all the studies showing that adding testosterone to HRT regiment may help postmenopausal women add muscles, since maintaining muscle mass is essential in maintaining strength and in maintaining a healthy weight? I need the names of research companies and the dates of studies. It is very important for me since I am fighting with my HMO to let them pay for my doctor's prescription for testosterone. Can you help?

A. Although testosterone, the male hormone, does help build muscle tissue, it is not FDA approved for this use. Of course it has significant side effects causing masculine features to develop or accentuate. It is used for testosterone deficiency in men, and is occasionally used in small amounts to enhance libido in post-menopausal women. This use is controversial and the effectiveness is not proven.

Muscle mass is best maintained through regular exercise and healthy diet. Here are some medical articles that can be obtained through the library of a hospital or medical school:

1. Hakkinen K, Kraemer WJ, Pakarinen A, Triplett-McBride T, McBride JM, Hakkinen A, Alen M, McGuigan MR, Bronks R, Newton RU. Effects of heavy resistance/power training on maximal strength, muscle morphology, and hormonal response patterns in 60-75-year-old men and women. Can J Appl Physiol. 2002 Jun;27(3):213-31.

2. Basaria S, Nguyen T, Rosenson RS, Dobs AS. Effect of methyl testosterone administration on plasma viscosity in postmenopausal women. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2002 Aug;57(2):209-14.

3. Corrigan B. DHEA and sport. Clin J Sport Med. 2002 Jul;12(4):236-41.

4. Burd ID, Bachmann GA. Androgen replacement in menopause. Curr Womens Health Rep. 2001 Dec;1(3):202-5.



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