More Specialists Question Safety of Testosterone Therapy for Older Men02/17/14
MONDAY, Feb. 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Following the recent
announcement from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about the
potential hazards of using testosterone supplements in older men,
another group of experts is raising concerns about the popular
In a statement, specialists in hormonal therapy at the Endocrine
Society said the risks and benefits of testosterone supplements for
older men with age-related declines in testosterone levels must be
investigated more carefully.
Older men considering such regimens should be warned about the
possible risks, particularly heart-related events such as heart
attack and stroke, the group said.
The Endocrine Society issued the warning after three recent
studies revealed testosterone may not be safe for older men with a
history of heart disease. The studies found these men had more
heart-related events than men not on testosterone therapy.
For example, in one study published recently in the journal
PLoS One, an increased risk of heart attack was found in men
younger than 65 with a history of heart disease, and in older men
even if they didn't have a history of the disease.
Testosterone therapy has been widely advertised as a way to help
aging men improve low sex drive and reclaim diminished energy, and
use of the supplements is on the increase. Although the FDA
approved testosterone therapy for the treatment of diseases
involving the testes, pituitary and hypothalamus, it has not been
approved for treating age-related declines in testosterone
Earlier this month, the FDA announced it is "investigating the
risk of stroke, heart attack and death in men taking FDA-approved
testosterone products," based on the recent studies.
The U.S. National Institute on Aging is also expected to release
the results of research on the safety of testosterone. The study
involved roughly 800 older men with low testosterone and symptoms
associated with this condition, such as sexual and physical
dysfunction. Since the men's heart health was carefully monitored,
the research is expected to shed more light on the safety of
The Endocrine Society added that more large, randomized
controlled studies are needed to investigate the risks and benefits
of the treatment for older men. Meanwhile, the group advised that
middle-aged and older men who are thinking about using testosterone
therapy to treat age-related declines in this hormone should be
warned about the possibility of heart-related side effects.
The group said it is especially important for men who've had a
heart attack, stroke or other heart-related event in the past six
months to avoid testosterone therapy.
On the other hand, testosterone therapy is safe and effective
for the treatment of young men with hypogonadism (testosterone
deficiency) that resulted from a disease of the testes, pituitary
or hypothalamus. These patients should talk to their doctor before
making any changes to their treatment plan.
The American Academy of Family Physicians provides more
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