Men with low testosterone levels who use testosterone replacement treatments are not at an increased risk of atherosclerosis, but they don’t see any improvement in overall sexual function, partner intimacy, and health-related quality of life, according to a new study published in JAMA.
Atherosclerosis is the build-up of fats, cholesterol and other substances in the artery walls, a condition that can increase the risk for life threatening blood clots, heart attacks and strokes. Previous studies have suggested that men on testosterone therapy are at an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and death.
The study focused on men who have been tested and diagnosed with low testosterone, a condition known as hypogonadism, which is caused by damage or disease, and not by the natural process of aging. Aggressive marketing campaigns by testosterone manufacturers have resulted in skyrocketing prescriptions to treat so-called “Low T.” Studies have shown that a majority of men prescribed testosterone drugs were never tested to see if they suffered from hypogonadism.
The study leaves the question of whether men with normal testosterone levels who take testosterone replacement drugs are at greater risk for heart attacks, strokes and death.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently ordered manufacturers of testosterone products to add heart attack and stroke warnings to their safety labels and to collect stroke data on men who use their drugs. This, the agency said, will offer more insight into the risks of testosterone replacement drugs.
Not only are testosterone supplement makers collecting testosterone side effects data, they are also preparing to fight hundreds of lawsuits claiming the companies aggressively pushed their products on men and failed to adequately warn of the risks.