A recent study reinforces the previous notion that testosterone drugs are linked to an increased risk of a heart attack. The study draws even greater focus to existing concerns about men being prescribed testosterone drugs simply to treat a common part of aging, placing them at elevated risks of dangerous side effects from testosterone therapy.
Based on a story released by the New York Times, such testosterone therapy prescriptions could have lifelong repercussions. The Times also reported that between 2001 and 2011, the amount of men over the age of 40 using the hormone nearly quadrupled. At the end of that timeframe, nearly 1 in 25 men in their 60s was taking testosterone.
A study published in PLOS One examined the rate of severe, non-fatal heart attacks in patients during the first 90 days following a regimen of testosterone therapy and compared it against the rate in the first year following therapy. They also compared the rates of heart attack incidents with men who were prescribed a different medication altogether. Researchers discovered that for men ages 65 and up there is double the risk of having a heart attack within 90 days of filling their initial prescription. In comparison, younger men with a history of heart disease experienced an increased risk by two to three times in the initial 90 days.
However, further concerns can extend well beyond those 90 days. Some men are not able to stop this form of therapy because their body’s stop producing testosterone.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced at the end of January that it was in the process of conducting an active investigation into the risks. The agency noted that it has been monitoring the risk for some time now and decided to reevaluate the matter based on two newer, separate studies that reinforced a potential link between testosterone therapy and an increased risk of heart problems. The FDA wrote:
“Testosterone products are FDA-approved only for use in men who lack or have low testosterone levels in conjunction with an associated medical condition.”
For men, testosterone is a sex hormone produced by the gonads. It is also produced in small amounts in woman’s ovaries and in the adrenal system. Some medical conditions or changes in the body may result in a decreased production of testosterone, leading to a range of possible health issues. Doctors will often prescribe drugs designed to increase the body’s production of testosterone, which may also consist of treatments and prescriptions that introduce testosterone into the body directly.
Testosterone replacement therapy is used in men and boys to treat a number of medical conditions caused by a lack of the hormone, such as delayed puberty, impotence, or other hormonal imbalances. It is also used in women to treat breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
Testosterone medications are administered using a transdermal gel or patch, or by injection. Below is a list of a several commonly prescribed testosterone drugs include:
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