(HealthDay News) — Older men treated with testosterone gel experience a moderate but significant improvement in their sex drive, sexual activity, and erectile function compared to men given a placebo gel, according to a study published online June 29 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

For this trial, 470 men older than 65 were randomly assigned to use either a testosterone gel or a placebo gel for one year. All of the men had low testosterone levels due to aging, and low libido.

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Men using testosterone gel experienced a significant increase in their sexual activity, the researchers found. Questionnaires revealed improvement in 10 out of 12 measurements of sexual activity, including frequency of sex, masturbation, sexual daydreams, sexual anticipation, and nighttime erections. By comparison, men in the placebo group had similar questionnaire responses throughout the study.

“In older men with low libido and low testosterone levels, improvements in sexual desire and activity in response to testosterone treatment were related to the magnitude of increases in testosterone and estradiol levels, but there was no clear evidence of a threshold effect,” the authors write.

AbbVie provided funding for the study, as well as the testosterone gel and placebo gel used in the study.

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