Selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs): the future of androgen therapy?
Selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) are small molecule drugs that function as either androgen receptor (AR) agonists or antagonists. Variability in AR regulatory proteins in target tissues permits SARMs to selectively elicit anabolic benefits while eschewing the pitfalls of traditional androgen therapy. SARMs have few side effects and excellent oral and transdermal bioavailability and may, therefore, represent viable alternatives to current androgen therapies. SARMs have been studied as possible therapies for many conditions, including osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer, stress urinary incontinence (SUI), prostate cancer (PCa), benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), male contraception, hypogonadism, Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), and sarcopenia/muscle wasting/cancer cachexia. While there are no indications for SARMs currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), many potential applications are still being explored, and results are promising. In this review, we examine the literature assessing the use of SARMS for a number of indications.