The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advise doctors against over-prescribing drugs that increase testosterone production stating that testosterone treatments can increase the risk of heart attacks and stroke in men.
There is currently insufficient data to show whether this type of treatment can be used in standard age-related issues like low libido and fatigue which are symptoms for which many male patients want or even take testosterone-boosting drugs.
FDA wants medication companies to design labels which clearly state that these types of drugs should only be used by men with low testosterone levels resulted from disease or injuries, not because of the normal aging process.
Drug makers should also include in the label the part regarding risks which can be increased due to such therapies: the high possibility of heart attacks, strokes or various other cardiovascular problems.
A study conducted at UCLA found a link between testosterone-boosting drugs and the risk of heart attacks. The study was conducted on 55,000 men and found that the risk of men over 65 having a heart attack has doubled after only 90 days since the beginning of the treatment. The study also found that in men younger than 65 who have a history of heart disease the risk is even 3 times higher.
The FDA considers there is a need for long-term studies on this matter, in order to properly understand the risks of such treatments. Dr. Steve Nissen, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic agrees, saying that “What’s going on is a giant experiment, with American men’s health at stake, because we don’t have the long-term data on the safety of these products”.
The drugs come in many forms and sizes. From gels and patches to injections, many companies like AbbVie and Eli Lilly & Co. promise men with low testosterone that their product will be the solution to all of their aging problems, saying it will help with sexual problems and low moods.
Dr. Sidney Wolfe of Public Citizen describes how
“There’s been a very successful advertising campaign to make men feel that whatever their problem is, the answer is to buy more testosterone.”
But that is not the answer, and men all around the country need to know that some of their problems are simply due to age and that increasing the level of testosterone is not the answer to everything.
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