What Every Man Needs to Know if He’s Taking Testosterone Replacement Drugs
Are you a man thinking about taking an ED drug or other testosterone products? Heed this: Testosterone therapy could increase your risk of heart disease. And the Food and Drug Administration finally wants you to know.
Last year the government agency decided to look into the possibility that testosterone products such as drugs that treat erectile dysfunction could increase the risk of cardiovascular events (think: heart attacks and stroke). This came on the heels of a UCLA study that found that testosterone therapy could increase the incidence of a heart attack in men under 65 twofold, and could double the risk in men over 65. And this wasn’t any small study. The researchers looked at the health records of 55,593 men who were prescribed these therapies. What’s more: the findings backed up those of three smaller studies that raised similar concerns over men taking these drugs and their increased risk of cardiovascular events.
Like many Americans, as much as you may have come to accept the inevitability of getting older, you probably don’t like noticing signs of aging such as wrinkles, vision loss, aching joints, fatigue and more.
But what most people — doctors included — don’t realize is these seemingly innocuous symptoms can stem from a simple hidden cause that can easily be corrected.
How could this happen? Turns out that those drug approvals were based on short-term studies. Sure, they showed that they could raise testosterone levels but they didn’t prove to improve overall health. It has been known for a while that testosterone raises blood pressure. We know from Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) that testosterone can increase the risk of a cardiovascular event occurring in women—a population that is thought to suffer less heart disease risk than men. So why wouldn’t anyone think that the hormone could have the same effect in men?
Just this month, the FDA decided to make drug makers warn their patients that testosterone products could increase their risk of heart attacks and strokes, and that these products may not help low testosterone levels that may occur because of age. The agency is also requiring the makers of these drugs to conduct long-term studies to clarify the products’ effects on health. And it only took them a year.
Carey Rossi is a writer and editor with 10 years of experience covering all aspects of nutrition and fitness. She was the editor-in-chief of Better Nutrition, a shopping magazine for natural living, and the founding editor of Muscle & Fitness Hers. In addition, her work has appeared in Muscle & Fitness, Looking Good Now, Healthy Family, Vegetarian Times and Natural Health. She is the author of No More Diets Ever, Lose Weight the Natural Way.