Testosterone and depression in men

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The purpose of the review is to update the current literature regarding the role, if any, that testosterone plays in depressive illness. We have considered the influences on depression of endogenous testosterone, that is, hypogonadism and depression; and exogenous testosterone, that is, as a potential antidepressant.

Recent findings

Studies do not support a consistent relationship between testosterone level and mood. There may be vulnerable subpopulations in whom hypogonadism contributes to depression; and chronic depressive illness may lead to hypogonadism in some men. Results from multiple randomized, controlled clinical trials are conflicting. Most do not support testosterone as a broadly effective antidepressant, but it may be effective in carefully selected populations, such as hypogonadal men, antidepressant-resistant men, men with early onset depression, and/or HIV-infected men.

Summary

There is little support for a pervasive influence of testosterone on mood.

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