Recent reports have raised concerns that Testosterone therapy is associated with an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and death.
Testosterone therapy (also called androgen replacement therapy) is a growing field in pharmaceutical sales. Medications for testosterone therapy primarily take the form of pills, injections, and patches or gels that are absorbed through the skin. It is sold under brand names like AndroGel, Axiron, Fortesta, Striant, and Testim.
Testosterone Therapy Health Risks
A study published in the November 2013 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association demonstrated an association between testosterone therapy and increased rates of heart attack, stroke, and death. Out of 8,709 male veterans, the rates of deaths, heart attacks, and strokes were 29% higher in the group of men who had received testosterone therapy compared with those who had not.
Based on this data, physicians are becoming concerned over the limited knowledge of the side effects of testosterone therapy, and have called for additional studies.
Low Testosterone Is Not In Itself A Medical Condition
In addition to potential health risks, the New York Times, reports that pharmaceutical companies are exposing many men to these increased health risks without providing any benefits, according to a number of medical researchers and industry experts.
Although a growing number of men are being prescribed testosterone therapy for a condition marked as “Low-T”, some doctors think that the medication is being over-prescribed. Low testosterone levels are considered to be below 300 ng/dL (nanograms per deciliter), but they fluctuate over time, and a single low reading is not necessarily an indication that treatment should be started or will reduce adverse symptoms. Further, up to 25% of new testosterone users age 40 and over received testosterone therapy without first having their testosterone levels measured.
There is also little data showing that the testosterone therapy provides a benefit for all but the most severe cases of low testosterone. Low testosterone does not become a recognized medical problem until levels become extremely low, due to conditions like hypogonadism or hormonal deficiencies. These are caused by issues such as undescended testicles, pituitary tumors, or chemotherapy.
Yet pharmaceutical companies have almost single-handedly created a market for testosterone therapy by advertising directly to consumers and suggesting that men should be treated if they have “low T”, to treat “symptoms” like decreased libido, lack of energy, sadness, or falling asleep after dinner—all of which are normal, periodic feelings or symptoms. After all, most people get tired and go to sleep 4-6 hours after dinner, and declining levels of testosterone are normal as men age.
If You Had Stroke or Heart Attack While on Testosterone Therapy
Thank you for your interest in the work that Lopez McHugh does. We are no longer evaluating possible testosterone therapy cases.