Testosterone replacement therapy may cause brain damage in Caucasian men, a new study suggests, adding yet another strike against the increasingly popular hormone treatment.
Testosterone treatments are approved to boost levels of the hormone in men experiencing symptoms of so-called Low-T, such as a diminished sex drive, fatigue, weight gain and muscle loss. In recent years, prescriptions for testosterone supplements have skyrocketed in the United States, leading many experts to worry that the drug is being given to men who don’t necessarily need it.
In its natural form, testosterone helps protect the brain against free radicals, which can damage brain cells and affect memory and cognitive skills, and could lead to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. However, the new research, published in a recent issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, found that men with an excess of testosterone, known as oxidative stress, could have the opposite effect on the brain.
In January, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety communication announcing the agency was investigating safety risks of testosterone supplements after studies showed the treatment can increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes and death from any cause. The first study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in November, showed that men who used testosterone products had a 30 percent increased risk of heart attack, stroke and death compared to men who did not sue the drugs. A second study, published in PLOS One in January, found a two-fold increase in the risk of heart attack among men 64 years and older in the first 90 days of testosterone treatment. The study also found that younger men with heart disease had a two- to three-fold increased risk of heart attacks in the first three months of treatment.
Since data from the studies have come to light, many men have filed lawsuits against the manufacturers of testosterone replacement products, including AndroGel and Testim.
Source: The Legal Examiner