NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Mar 6, 2014) - New research suggests testosterone therapy may significantly increase a man's risk of heart attack. The risk, it appears, is twofold. Men over 65 could double their risk of heart attack by taking testosterone supplements, while younger testosterone users with pre-existing heart conditions may triple their risk. In younger men, heart attack risk is greatest at the start of treatment.
Testosterone replacement therapy is used to treat "Low T" or low testosterone, and is believed to improve male sexuality issues, such as erectile dysfunction (ED), low sex drive, even impotence. In recent years, the hormone supplement is widely prescribed as a quick fix for elusive conditions such as depression, reduced energy levels, and low sex drive. The free flow of prescriptions is concerning to ED expert and penile implant surgeon, J. Francois Eid, MD, who fears men are becoming unnecessarily "addicted" to testosterone.
"The heart attack risks uncovered in this study should not be taken lightly," urged Dr. Eid. "A large percentage of men are being generically or misdiagnosed with Low T and given prescription testosterone therapy without really looking into their symptoms, causes, and medical history."
Researchers reviewed a large healthcare database of more than 55,000 men on testosterone therapy and 167,000 men taking PDE5 inhibitors. The study was published January 29, 2014 in PLOS One, http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0085805
Is testosterone therapy safe?
Concerns about the overuse and overprescribing of testosterone therapy are not new. Many experts caution that the short-term gains in energy and mood are not worth the long-term risks. Testosterone therapy works by arresting the body's production of the hormone. Replacing natural testosterone with synthetic testosterone and can lead to infertility, urinary issues, testicle shrinking, and prostate cancer growth. When the treatment is stopped, a man's natural production of testosterone may or may not resume.
According to Dr. Eid, "Testosterone is measured on a wide scale of acceptable levels, 300 to 1,200 nanograms per deciliter; very few men have truly low testosterone levels. Fluctuations and reductions are perfectly normal based on age and even time of day." Levels below normal range are often a sign of a more significant medical condition involving the thyroid, liver, or pituitary gland.
Dr. Eid encourages patients to seek a thorough diagnosis before starting testosterone therapy. ED, for example, is often mistreated with testosterone despite evidence that increasing male hormone levels does not improve erection frequency or strength. Other potential risks include artery clogging and reduced levels of the "good cholesterol" HDL.
"PDE5 medications are far more effective in treating early stage ED and, for a lot of men, they may also be safer," said Dr. Eid, who specializes in the full spectrum of ED treatments, including oral medications, penile injection therapy, and most specifically, penile implant surgery.
To learn more about ED treatments and causes, and the risks of testosterone for Low T, visit www.urologicalcare.com. New York-based, J. Francoise Eid, MD, is a world-renowned penile implant surgeon and ED expert. He is the innovator of the No Touch Technique and has performed more penile implants than any other surgeon -- more than 300 per year.