Testosterone replacement therapy may look like the fountain of youth, but a new analysis has found the hormone supplements don’t provide any real benefits as far as improving cardiovascular health, sexual function and cognitive abilities. What testosterone treatments do provide are a laundry list of potential health issues that render the treatments a risky gamble for men.
The analysis, published in the journal PLOS One, involved a review of 226 clinical trials conducted between 1950 and 2016 in which testosterone treatments were compared to a placebo for cardiovascular health, sexual function, physical function, mood or cognitive function.
“Testosterone has been marketed to improve a number of conditions but for the vast majority, our review of the data shows that not one of these claims has adequate clinical trial support,” study author Adriane Fugh-Berman said in a press release.
Researchers concluded that testosterone replacement therapy did not show consistent benefit for cardiovascular risk, sexual function, mood and behavior, or cognition. They also found that testosterone is “ineffective” in treating erectile dysfunction and “did not show a consistent effect on libido.”
Testosterone treatments are designed for men with hypogonadism, a condition in which men’s bodies do not produce enough testosterone due to defect or disease. The treatments have been heavily promoted to ease symptoms of so-called Low T, which drug makers said could cause low libido, mood swings and muscle loss.
Testosterone manufacturers are currently facing lawsuits alleging the drug companies did not adequately warn the public that the hormone therapy could increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes and death.
“Testosterone has known risks and no clear benefits, and shouldn’t be used by men with intact testicles,” Fugh-Berman concluded.