Los Angeles, CA: Testosterone treatments could increase risk for stroke, heart attack or death, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in November 2013.
The study found that compared with men not taking testosterone supplements, men who did use the hormone and who had signs of cardiac problems also had a 30 percent increased risk of suffering heart attack, stroke or death. The study followed 8,700 men taking testosterone over a three year period, whose average was 60.
Also known as "low T Treatment", Testosterone therapy is prescribed to aging men to help improve declining sex drive, strengthen bone density and build muscle mass. Testosterone replacement produces include: Androgel, Androderm, Axirom, Bio-T-Gel, Delatestryl, Depo-Testosterone, Fortesta, Striant, Testim, and Testopel.
According to the recent JAMA study, annual prescriptions for testosterone supplements have increased more than five-fold in recent years, with over 5 million prescriptions and $1.6 billion in sales in the US in 2011.
While earlier studies have yielded mixed results on the health risks associated with Testosterone treatments, possible side effects, which are listed on the package insert of one such treatment, AndroGel, include "swelling of your ankles, feet, or body, with or without heart failure. This may cause serious problems for people who have heart, kidney, or liver disease."
An increased risk for prostate cancer is also noted as a side effect. In men who have an enlarged prostate gland, the cardiovascular signs and symptoms may worsen.