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Popular ‘low T’ treatment is safe for men with heart disease, but doctors warn it’s no youth serum

by Joshua Brown
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testosterone replacement therapy

New research suggests that testosterone replacement therapy is safe for men with heart disease or at high risk for it, dispelling concerns about potential cardiac issues. However, doctors emphasize that this popular treatment is not a magical anti-aging solution.

Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the study found no significant difference in the occurrence of heart attacks, strokes, or other major cardiac problems between those using testosterone gel and those using a placebo. The study involved over 5,000 men aged 45-80 at various trial sites across the United States.

While the findings demonstrate the safety of testosterone therapy for a specific group of men, experts caution against using it as a widespread anti-aging remedy. Dr. Nissen, one of the researchers, highlights that testosterone should not be given as an “anti-aging tonic” but rather as a treatment for hypogonadism, a condition characterized by low levels of the hormone in the blood.

The study addresses the knowledge gap regarding testosterone treatment’s impact on cardiovascular outcomes in men with true low testosterone levels. However, further research is needed to determine whether testosterone therapy can effectively reduce cardiovascular risk factors in men with low testosterone who often exhibit conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.

Notably, the treatment of low testosterone has been a lucrative industry driven by advertisements for various products. The study, led by the Cleveland Clinic and supported by a group of drug companies, was conducted in response to a 2015 FDA mandate that required manufacturers of testosterone products to thoroughly investigate the risk of heart attack or stroke. Previous FDA reviews revealed that many men received low testosterone treatment without proper assessment of their hormone levels.

Dr. Nissen urges caution, emphasizing that testosterone therapy should not be misused by bodybuilders or athletes. There are significant concerns regarding the misuse of testosterone, and it is important to exercise prudence in its administration.

This report was made possible with support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group, and the content is the sole responsibility of the AP.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about testosterone replacement therapy

Is testosterone replacement therapy safe for men with heart disease?

Yes, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, testosterone replacement therapy is considered safe for men with heart disease or those at high risk for it. The study found no significant increase in heart attacks, strokes, or other major cardiac issues among those using testosterone gel compared to those using a placebo.

Can testosterone replacement therapy reverse aging?

No, doctors caution against viewing testosterone replacement therapy as an anti-aging treatment or a youth serum. While it may have benefits for men with low testosterone levels, it is not a magical solution for reversing the aging process. The primary purpose of testosterone therapy is to address hypogonadism, a condition characterized by low levels of the hormone in the blood.

What were the major findings of the research study?

The study involved over 5,000 men aged 45-80 and found no significant difference in the occurrence of heart attacks, strokes, or other major cardiac events between those using testosterone gel and those using a placebo. However, the testosterone group did have a slightly higher incidence of less severe issues such as atrial fibrillation, acute kidney injury, and blood clot-related complications.

What is hypogonadism?

Hypogonadism is a condition characterized by low levels of testosterone in the blood. It can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, decreased libido, and reduced muscle mass. Testosterone replacement therapy is a common treatment for men with hypogonadism to restore hormone levels to a normal range.

Are there any concerns or risks associated with testosterone replacement therapy?

While the study confirms the safety of testosterone replacement therapy for men with heart disease, there are potential risks and concerns associated with its misuse. Doctors advise against using testosterone therapy for non-medical purposes, such as bodybuilding or athletic performance enhancement. Misuse of testosterone can have adverse effects and should be approached with caution.

Why was this study conducted?

The study was conducted in response to a 2015 mandate by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for manufacturers of testosterone products to investigate the risk of heart attack or stroke associated with their use. Previous FDA reviews revealed that many men were receiving testosterone treatment without proper assessment of their hormone levels, highlighting the need for further research on the cardiovascular outcomes of testosterone therapy.

More about testosterone replacement therapy

  • [New England Journal of Medicine](link to the study)
  • [Food and Drug Administration (FDA)](link to the FDA website)
  • [Hypogonadism](link to a reputable source explaining hypogonadism)
  • [Testosterone Replacement Therapy](link to a reputable source explaining testosterone replacement therapy)

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