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AHA offers heart attack, stroke warning signs following celebrity deaths

The holiday weekend was rocked by the news of singer George Michael’s death from heart failure and actress Carrie Fisher’s death due to a heart attack. The news prompted the American Heart Association to remind consumers about the warning signs of heart attack and stroke and when it is time to seek immediate medical attention. Conditions that increase a person’s risk for heart disease, which can lead to heart attack and stroke, include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and pre-diabetes, smoking, being overweight or obese, being physically inactive, having a family history of early heart disease, having a history of ... Read More

UAB case study links brain bleed to popular energy drink

Energy drinks like Monster, Rockstar and 5-Hour Energy continue to show up on the radar of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as the agency receives more evidence of illnesses and deaths in people who consumed the products. Now, a team of researchers with the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) provides more alarming evidence about the drinks. The researchers have presented the first case study of a patient experiencing a hemorrhagic stroke – or brain bleed – following the consumption of an energy drink. The study, published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, details the case of a 57-year-old ... Read More

Study investigates prostate cancer risk with testosterone treatments

The increased use of testosterone replacement therapy has resulted in numerous studies looking into the safety of testosterone supplementation. Recent studies have brought to light concerning cardiovascular risks. For example, one study has found that men who used testosterone therapy were 30 percent more likely to have a heart attack, stroke or die after three years of use. Another study found that men had a significant increased risk of heart attack and stroke in the first 90 days of use. A recent study has looked at whether testosterone treatment can increase prostate cancer risk. The reasoning is that standard therapy ... Read More

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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