Testosterone Treatment Linked to Increased Heart Risks
According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), testosterone treatment may come with an increased risk of serious adverse event s including heart attack, stroke and death.
About Testosterone Treatment
- Testosterone is a hormone that helps maintain bone density, muscle mass, red blood cell production and sex drive in men. As men age, testosterone levels naturally begin to decline by about 1 percent per year after the age of 30.
- Low testosterone is also experienced by men who suffer from hypogonadism, a disease in which the body fails to produce normal levels of testosterone due to a problem with the testicles or the pituitary glands.
- In efforts to combat hypogonadism, federal regulators have approved a number of testosterone supplements including Axiron (Eli Lilly), Androderm (Actavis Plc) and Androgel (AbbVie).
- However, with the financial success of these treatments, experts have begun to express concern with the rate of prescription, the risks associated with the treatments, and how the treatments are marketed.
Findings of Testosterone Treatment Study
- For the study, researchers with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas observed 8,709 men treated with testosterone in the U.S. Veteran Affairs health system.
- According to ABC News, the study found that patients treated with testosterone supplements were 29 percent more likely to suffer from cardiovascular problems including heart attack, stroke and death than those who had not received treatment.
- Similarly, a 2009 study of testosterone supplements used in the treatment of elderly men was halted after an audit found increased risk of heart attacks and high blood pressure.
The Bigger Picture for Testosterone Therapy
- It is estimated that nearly 3 percent of all U.S. men over 40 are currently prescribed testosterone treatments.
- Bloomberg reports that in 2011, 5.3 million prescriptions were filled for testosterone supplements – up five fold since 2000.
- If current trends continue, Bloomberg estimates that the $1.6 billion testosterone supplement market could reach a value of $5 billion by 2017.
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