Aggressive marketing campaigns by drug companies peddling testosterone treatments has resulted in an increasing number of men asking their doctors if they are a candidate for testosterone therapy. Low levels of testosterone, or “Low T” as the drug companies have dubbed it, can be blamed for a variety of symptoms from fatigue and low libido to muscle weakness and weight gain. But testosterone supplementation may not be the wonder therapy marketers are claiming it to be. Recent studies show that men who take the drugs are 30 percent more likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or die during a three-year period than men with Low T who did not take the supplements.
The study has shaken the medical community, but it is hardly a surprise. For many men, the short-term risks with testosterone replacement therapies, such as Testim, AndroGel and Axiron, weren’t enough to keep them from using the hormones. The long-term risks, until recently, were largely unknown.
The new study, published in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medial Association (JAMA), aimed to identify any long-term adverse events in men. The study involved more than 8,700 older men who used testosterone supplements. Researchers found that 14 percent of men who started testosterone therapy after undergoing angiography were mostly younger and slightly healthier than the 86 percent who did not take the hormones. However, after an average of three years, the men who used testosterone treatments were almost 30 percent more likely than men who did not use the supplements to have a stroke, heart attack, or die from any cause.
Researchers were also alarmed to find that men using the supplements who started the study with unobstructed coronary arteries were just as likely to have a heart attack, stroke or die from any cause as men who joined the study with established coronary artery disease.
AbbVie Inc, maker of the widely prescribed testosterone treatment AndroGel, issued a statement that the risks with testosterone replacement therapy were small. Side effects listed on the drug’s label include high blood pressure, blood clots in the legs, and body swelling that may or may not occur with or without heart failure.
Source: USA Today