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WASHINGTON, Nov 12, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- American men who take the hormone testosterone to boost their strength or mood may be wasting their time, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.
A major report from the congressionally chartered Institute of Medicine said the hormone has not been shown to be either safe or beneficial for the many men who use it.
The panel said while the drug, approved by the Food and Drug Administration, can be useful for men who suffer from a particular medical condition, it is "inappropriate for wide-scale use to prevent possible future disease or to enhance strength or mood in otherwise healthy older men."
Testosterone, used by more than 800,000 men last year, has become a popular prescription drug for men who believe it can help them build up their muscles, improve their thinking, increase their libido and slow the aging process.
But the institute's review concluded there is insufficient research to know whether it provides any of those benefits to otherwise healthy men or to gauge the seriousness of known increased risks of prostate cancer and blood-clotting.
Most men experience a gradual tapering off in testosterone production in their forties that continues at about a 1 percent a year.
That decline is the subject of heated medical debate, with some researchers saying it is predictable and normal while others say it is associated with a number of diseases and conditions that can be kept at bay by taking additional testosterone.
Copyright 2003 by United Press International.