Testosterone therapy has become more popular in the medical community over the last few years. As men age, a natural loss in testosterone can result in a decreased sex drive, a decrease in muscle mass, and strength in extremities like the hands. In some cases, the hormone levels drop low enough to a point where it is necessary to augment the body's normal production of testosterone with hormone therapy.
There are now many hormone therapies on the market to treat low testosterone (low T) in men. Recent studies have linked testosterone therapies to a number of complications. Most notable is an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. A study released in January of 2014 followed more than 55,000 men and found that in men over 65, the risk of a heart attack or other cardiac-related incident doubled if the individual was on hormone therapy.
However, the threat of adverse cardiac events is not confined to older men. In younger men, who experienced cardiac events before undergoing testosterone therapy, the risk of recurrence increased.
Many medical professionals are calling on the Food and Drug Administration to look further into the effects of testosterone drugs on the body. There are many such drugs on the market including:
FDA Approved For Certain Medical Conditions
The FDA has announced that it is requiring manufacturers of all prescription testosterone products to update their labeling to clarify the approved uses for testosterone medications. TThe FDA wanted ensure that the labeling on prescription testosterone products articulate that their products are approved only for men who have low testosterone levels caused by certain medical conditions, such as hypogonadism. The FDA reiterated that “the benefit and safety of prescription testosterone medications have not been established for treatment of low testosterone levels due to aging, even if a man's symptoms seem related to low testosterone."
Updated Warnings Concerning Heart Attack and Stroke
The FDA further announced, based on available studies and input from the FDA Advisory Committee meeting, that there is a possible “increased cardiovascular risk associated with testosterone use.” As a result, the FDA is requiring that all testosterone drug companies update their label accordingly.
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