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Dr. K supports doctor’s reluctance to prescribe testosterone replacement therapy

Low T

Older men with low-normal testosterone levels should not rush into testosterone-boosting treatments without first considering the risks versus the benefits, said Dr. Komaroff, who goes by Dr. K at AskDoctorK.com, a syndicated health-related column. “I’m a 68-year-old man who has been feeling more tired and less ‘sexy’ over the past several months,” a reader writes, adding that his doctor told him his testosterone levels were “low normal.” “I know that some men take testosterone gel as a treatment (for low testosterone). My doctor is not so keen on that. What’s your opinion?” Dr. K didn’t offer direct advice to the ... Read More

Weight loss similar in men on testosterone compared to placebo

Low T

Manufacturers of testosterone replacement treatments used aggressive marketing campaigns to sell their products as cure-all for a host of symptoms including weight gain, but a new study shows that men following a diet and exercise regime lose the same amount of weight on testosterone therapy as men taking a placebo. The study, presented at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting, involved 100 fairly healthy obese men ranging in age from 20 to 70. All reportedly had low testosterone levels, 20 percent had diabetes and 10 percent had heart disease. For the first 10 weeks, the participants were told to follow a ... Read More

FDA warns that testosterone replacement therapy should not be used for age-related hypogonadism

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning doctors not to prescribe testosterone replacement therapy to men with age-related hypogonadism due to cardiovascular risks. Prescription testosterone treatments are designed to treat hypogonadism, a condition in which men’s bodies do not produce enough testosterone. In younger men, this is generally due to disease or defect. Low testosterone can affect fertility and cause other problems including low libido and muscle loss. As a man ages, testosterone levels naturally drop. Despite advertisements from manufacturers of testosterone replacement therapy promising increased sex drive and weight loss, this is not an indication for testosterone treatment, ... Read More

Legislation calls to end tax breaks for drug makers direct-to-consumer advertising

drug ad

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) is introducing legislation to end the tax break for drug makers who participate in direct-to-consumer advertising in an effort to encourage drug companies to focus on developing new drugs instead of “marketing schemes” to drive up profits. The move comes two weeks after Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) introduced a bill that would place a three-year moratorium on advertising newly approved prescription medications to consumers, and four months after the American Medical Association called for a ban on direct-to-consumer advertising. Franken argued that this form of marketing increases the price of prescription drugs and the ads “encourage ... Read More

Study suggests testosterone no better than skin cream at improving sex drive

Low T

Men age 65 and older who use testosterone replacement therapies enjoyed a microscopic short-term boost in libido but, in the long term, that improvement waned, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Testosterone replacement treatments are designed to boost levels of the male hormone in men with hypogonadism, a condition in which men produce too little testosterone due to injury or disease. As a man ages, his testosterone level naturally decreases. Testosterone treatments are not designed for men with age-related hypogonadism. Aggressive marketing campaigns waged by testosterone manufacturers have led to a boom in ... Read More

Injectable testosterone linked to higher heart risk than gels, patches

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Men given injectable testosterone treatments are at greater risk of a heart attack or stroke in the short term compared to men using testosterone gels or patches, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. The research comes on the heels of previous studies that showed an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and death in men who used testosterone replacement therapies. Those studies led to new warnings for heart attack, stroke and blood clots on packages of testosterone treatments; requirements for manufacturers to collect cardiovascular data on their products; as well as stricter wording on labels to indicate that ... Read More

Study: Testosterone not linked to increased prostate cancer risk

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Elevated testosterone levels – either naturally occurring or from use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), does not increase prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels or prostate cancer risk, according to new research. “Many urologists are concerned that TRT may accelerate prostate growth not only in benign disease but also in cancer,” said Peter Boyle, MD, with the International Prevention Research Institute in Ecully, France. The theory is that most prostate cancers respond to androgen deprivation therapy. Thus, testosterone is thought to stimulate prostate growth and prostate cancer. Boyle set out to identify whether there is a link between testosterone and prostate cancer ... Read More

Doctors reluctant to prescribe testosterone therapy

Low T

Doctors are more reluctant to prescribe testosterone therapy to male patients than they were years ago, according to an international survey of endocrinologists. The study was designed to document current practices in the approach to low testosterone in older men. “Given that recommendations are based on low-level evidence, we hypothesized that there would be a wide variety in clinical practice patterns,” researchers wrote. The web-based survey was completed by 943 physicians from North America, Europe, Oceania, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. “There was a wide variability in clinical practice patterns,” researchers wrote. “A total of ... Read More

First-time users of testosterone replacement treatments are at greater risk of heart attack

Low T

Men using testosterone replacement treatments are at greater risk of suffering a heart attack during the first 90 days of treatment than men who have been on the hormone replacement for more than four months. They were also at greater risk of heart attack compared to men who had used the treatment and discontinued use, according to a new study published in the journal Pharmacotherapy. The study involved data from the IMS LikeLink database for new-onset heart attacks in men ages 45 to 80 who had filled at least one prescription for testosterone replacement therapy. Researchers looked at current users ... Read More

Europe’s drug authority considers heart risks with testosterone replacement therapy

androgel-pump

European drug regulators are weighing whether the benefits of testosterone replacement therapy are worth the risk of life threatening cardiovascular events. Testosterone therapy, such as AbbVie’s AndroGel, is approved in both the United States and Europe for the treatment of hypogondaism, a condition in which the body does not produce enough testosterone. This can cause symptoms such as low sex drive and muscle loss. In recent years, makers of testosterone treatments have heavily marketed the drugs directly to consumers, asking men if they suffer from what they deem symptoms of “Low-T” – weight gain, fatigue, and general grumpiness. The campaign was ... Read More