Posted in In the News on September 4, 2014
A man suffering from low levels of testosterone, also known as “Low T” or male hypogonadism, experiences fatigue, erectile dysfunction and memory loss among other symptoms. Caused by the body’s failure to make enough hormones due to an issue with the pituitary gland or testicles, millions of men suffer from Low T.
Androgen replacement therapy, also called testosterone therapy, is often used by medical professionals to treat male hypogonadism and alleviate its related symptoms. It has become more popular since it was introduced in 2000, with annual sales now reaching $2 billion per Dr. David B. Samadi, Medical Contributor for Fox News. What sufferers and their loved ones may not know, however, are the heart-related risks this type of therapy might pose.
You have probably seen the commercials advertising the different forms testosterone therapy medications are available in, including gels, patches and injections. The medicines are often presented as a “cure all” to middle-aged men looking to recapture some of their youth. Since the hormone naturally begins to decrease in men around the age of 35, most men will have experienced symptoms of Low T by the time they are 50.
According to Fox News, recent studies regarding the side effects of Low T medications on the heart have produced alarming results, leading the Food and Drug Administration to re-evaluate and look deeper into the risks possibly posed by current FDA-approved testosterone therapies.
In January of 2014, a study conducted by UCLA and the National Cancer Institute was published in the PLoS One journal. Using data from 56,000 patients, the researchers found that men under the age of 65 with an undiagnosed heart disease, and men over 65 in general, had their risk of a heart attack doubled once they passed the first 90 days of Low T therapy.
Two other studies, conducted in 2010 and 2013 by the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association, respectively, found that elderly or frail men taking testosterone replacement medicines were more likely to have a severe cardiac event. In fact, a man died of a heart attack over the course of the NEJM study and investigators believe that testosterone therapy was the cause.
Both studies found that the gel versions of testosterone therapy increased a man’s risk for a stroke, and some men participating in the study actually experienced mini-strokes. A mini-stroke stops blood-flow to the brain for a short period, and an estimated one-third of people who have a mini-stroke end up having a full stroke within a year.
Another study done by Harvard and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center reported that, based on their research, men who have higher than normal levels of testosterone saw their risk of prostate cancer double. However, the medical community agrees that this is not conclusive and more studies on a potential link between prostate cancer and testosterone therapy still need to be conducted.
When you take all of the studies and their results into consideration, it causes one to question the safety behind this popular male hypogonadism treatment. It’s safe to argue that provided the symptoms related to low testosterone are minor, the treatment may not be worth the risk. Learn more at: www.zanerhardenlaw.com.