The age-related decline of serum T occurs in ~20-30% of adult men and it is today defined as late-onset hypogonadism (LOH). In the elderly, such decline becomes more prevalent (up to 60%) and shows-up with erectile dysfunction (ED) and hypoactive sexual desire. A large body of experimental evidences have shown that the combination of T replacement therapy (TRT) and phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE5i) is, usually, effective in restoring erectile function in patients with LOH and ED who have not responded to monotherapy for sexual disturbances. In fact, PDE5is potentiate the action of nitric oxide (NO) produced by endothelial cells, resulting in a vasodilator effect, while T facilitates PDE5i effects by increasing the expression of PDE5 in corpora cavernosa. Meta-analytic data have recognized to PDE5i a protective role on the cardiovascular health in patients with decreased left ventricular ejection fraction. In addition, several studies have shown pleiotropic beneficial effects of these drugs throughout the body (i.e., on bones, urogenital tract and cerebral, metabolic, and cardiovascular levels). TRT itself is able to decrease endothelial dysfunction, oxidative stress and inflammation, thus lowering the cardiovascular risk. Furthermore, untreated hypogonadism could be the cause of PDE5i ineffectiveness especially in the elderly. For these reasons, aging men complaining ED who have LOH should undergo TRT before or at the moment when PDE5i treatment is started.
Frontiers in endocrinology. 2019 Apr 11*** epublish ***
Antonio Aversa, Ylenia Duca, Rosita Angela Condorelli, Aldo Eugenio Calogero, Sandro La Vignera
Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, University "Magna Graecia" of Catanzaro, Catanzaro, Italy., Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Catania, Catania, Italy.