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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: It is unfortunate that the randomly assigned placebo and androstenedione groups in the study by Dr King and colleagues1 had a difference in free testosterone levels of almost 50%. Why were the 20 subjects not randomly regrouped in an attempt to equilibrate this difference, especially considering that free testosterone levels are perhaps the most important measure of androstenedione efficacy? Granted, this approach would taint the randomized design of the study, but with only 20 individuals, chance will ensure that groups are created that do not permit valid conclusions. The incongruence between the 2 study groups is all the more important considering that free testosterone levels did appear to increase in the androstenedione group. The authors claim that "a sample size of 160 would have been required to detect an effect of this size."1 Perhaps the sample size of 20 would have sufficed had the groups been comparable.

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