Nasal spray for low testosterone preserves fertility

By Ivanhoe

Low testosterone affects more than 10% of men worldwide. The condition can cause fatigue, low libido and even depression. Now, a nasal treatment is helping men feel better and keep their dreams of starting a family alive. 

Robert said he knew something wasn't right after feeling sluggish for almost two years. 

"Not really having the energy or the desire to work out or just work through the entire day," Robert said.

A blood test revealed he had low testosterone, a common condition that's on the rise in younger men. 

Dr. Ranjith Ramasamy, director of reproductive urology at the University of Miami Health System, said, "At least one in three men between the ages of 32 to 50 appear to have low testosterone." 

Ramasamy said factors such as stress, obesity and poor sleep habits may be to blame. 

Symptoms include "low energy, fatigue, improper sleep, weight gain, erectile dysfunction or lack of libido," Ramasamy explained. 

He said testosterone therapies like injections and gels have one major side effect. 

"All of these treatments will actually block hormones from the pituitary gland," Ramasamy stated.

Now a treatment called Natesto, applied through the nose, is offering younger patients another option. 

"Because this is used two to three times a day and it's short-acting, it still preserves your hormones from the pituitary gland and therefore maintains your sperm production," Ramasamy told Ivanhoe.

He said so far, patients enrolled in a University of Miami study have preserved their fertility and feel great! 

Ramasamy said, "They are able to lose weight, get back to the gym. Obviously their sex life has improved." 

Robert said taking Natesto has made a big difference. 

"I have the energy, I have the desire to be active and to do things," Robert shared.

He's feeling more like himself again. 

Natesto was approved by the Food and Drug Administration approved in 2012 but is being studied as a treatment option for men who want to preserve their fertility. Side effects of testosterone therapy include the risk of blood clots and breast enlargement, so always talk to your doctor first. Natesto is covered by most insurance companies. Otherwise, it costs about $200 a month. For more information on the treatment or the clinical trial, go to ClinicalTrial.gov and type in Natesto.

Background

Testosterone is the male sex hormone that is made in the testicles. Testosterone hormone levels are important to normal male sexual development and functions. Some men have low testosterone levels. This is called testosterone deficiency syndrome or low testosterone. Deficiency means that the body does not have enough of a needed substance. The syndrome is a group of symptoms that, together, suggest a disease or health condition. The American Urology Association identifies low blood testosterone as less than 300 nanograms per deciliter. Some symptoms or conditions that may accompany low testosterone are low sex drive, fatigue, reduced lean muscle mass, irritability, erectile dysfunction and depression. (Source) 

Side effects

Millions of American men use a prescription testosterone gel or injection to restore normal levels of the manly hormone. The ongoing pharmaceutical marketing blitz promises that treating "low T" this way can make men feel more alert, energetic, mentally sharp and sexually functional. However, legitimate safety concerns linger. For example, some older men on testosterone could face higher cardiac risks. A relatively small number of men experience immediate side effects of testosterone supplementation, such as acne, disturbed breathing while sleeping, breast swelling or tenderness or swelling in the ankles. Doctors also watch out for high red blood cell counts, which could increase the risk of clotting.

Men on long-term testosterone appear to have a higher risk of cardiovascular problems like heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease. Some physicians also have a lingering concern that testosterone therapy could stimulate the growth of prostate cancer cells. As with the hypothetical cardiac risks, the evidence is mixed. But because prostate cancer is so common, doctors tend to be leery of prescribing testosterone to men who may be at risk. (Source) 

New treatment

Ramasamy talked about the new treatment option Natesto.

"Just like many other medications that we've put through the nose, like medications that are used for allergies, they go through the nose and are absorbed systemically. It's the same concept. It's absorbed through the blood supply from the nose, and men who have been on the drugs so far have very good testosterone levels."

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