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February 9, 2000

Effects of Androstenedione in Young Men

Author Affiliations

Phil B.FontanarosaMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorStephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Fishbein FellowIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2000;283(6):741-743. doi:10.1001/jama.283.6.741

To the Editor: The article by Dr King and colleagues1 shows that androstenedione—a popular supplement—does not enhance muscle building and may cause some adverse effects. The article confirms the findings of other studies among young, healthy men and shows that administration of these hormones or their precursors may be harmful to healthy subjects.2 The article by King et al asks the very important question of whether androgenic supplementation in young adults is reasonable from a medical point of view. We think that it is not. On the other hand, the need for androgen supplementation in andropause seems to be underestimated. The increasing use of androgens by young bodybuilders contrasts with rare use of them among aging men. Surprisingly, there is also a disparity between studies investigating the effects of androgens in young adults and aging males. The latter group may have some indications for androgen supplementation, but the former seems to have none.

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