US federal regulators said Friday they were investigating products containing testosterone after recent studies suggested a higher risk of strokes and heart attacks in men being treated with the hormone.
Although it is too premature to conclude that FDA-approved testosterone treatment increases the risk of stroke, heart attack or death, this underscores the importance of prudent use of testosterone replacement. Testosterone replacement can still be helpful, especially in men who are truly suffering from hypogonadism (a condition marked by low sex hormone). However its adverse effects cannot be neglected. It is best to consult a physician who is well versed with testosterone therapy, its adverse effects and means of monitoring the therapy, before embarking on such replacement.
Testosterone replacement has sharply increased among older men in the past decade, for treatment of ‘andropause’ (declining level of testosterone in response to aging), amongst other indications. This aggressive use of testosterone may in part be secondary to aggressive marketing campaign by all parties concerned. Many of these patients appear to have normal testosterone levels and do not meet the clinical guidelines for treatment, and are yet given testosterone replacement by their doctors. Testosterone replacement are certainly indicated and helpful in those who have true hypogonadism (condition where sex hormones are truly low). In the vast majority, where they do not have hypogonadism, such treatment can lead to a host of serious health problems. It is best to discuss the option of testosterone replacement with a physician who is well versed with testosterone therapy, who is well acquainted with means of monitoring the therapy and their adverse effects before proceeding with such therapy.