SHEFFIELD, UNITED KINGDOM. There is experimental evidence that androgens such as testosterone improve circulation in the coronary arteries (the arteries supplying the heart muscle itself). Researchers at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital have just completed a pilot study aimed at determining whether the use of testosterone patches would be of benefit for men suffering from chronic stable angina. Their randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study included 46 men with stable angina. The men were assigned to apply two 2.5 mg transdermal testosterone patches or placebos at bedtime. All participants had blood samples drawn at weeks 0, 2, 6, 10 and 14 of the experiment and underwent treadmill testing at weeks 0, 2, 6 and 14. The subjects also completed quality-of-life questionnaires at weeks 0, 2, 6 and 14. The end point of the treadmill testing was taken as the time to 1-mm-ST-segment depression (an indication of impaired blood flow to the heart) rather than the time to angina or maximum exercise time. The researchers conclude that testosterone therapy significantly increases the time to significant ST-segment depression. In other words, the testosterone therapy increased the treated patients' capacity to exercise without having an angina attack. The treated patients also scored significantly better on the quality-of-life questionnaire and reported less pain than the controls. There were no differences in the frequency of angina attacks reported by the patients in either group and no significant differences or changes were noticed in prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels, hemoglobin, lipids or coagulation profiles.
English, Katherine M., et al. Low-dose transdermal testosterone therapy improves angina threshold in men with chronic stable angina. Circulation, Vol. 102, October 17, 2000, pp. 1906-11