Is testosterone replacement therapy a health risk or benefit?5 years ago | Hormones
By pH health care professionals
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently warned that testosterone replacement therapy may increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. However, this recommendation was based on outcomes from short-term testosterone treatment. So, a recent study published in The Lancet journal posed the question: What would happen if someone underwent testosterone therapy for a longer period of time?
To answer that question, scientists studied men ages 66 and up, treated with testosterone replacement therapy from 2007-2012 in Ontario, Canada. They found that the men treated with testosterone actually had lower mortality rates. Men with the lowest testosterone exposure had an increased risk of mortality and heart attacks, and men with the highest testosterone exposure had a decreased risk of mortality and heart attacks. Risk of prostate cancer was also decreased for those with the highest testosterone exposure, but not for those with the shortest exposure.
So what does this mean?
As the FDA warned, short durations of testosterone therapy may increase your risk of heart attack, stroke and mortality. However, long-term exposure to testosterone therapy may actually decrease your risk of heart attack, stroke and mortality.
More research is needed to confirm these recommendations, the scientists noted. For now, if you are considering testosterone therapy, have a conversation with your doctor about the appropriate length of time. If you need help bridging the topic with your doctor or need a second opinion about whether you need testosterone replacement therapy, get matched with the right pH Patient Advocate.
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The keys to testosterone treatment is maintaining a healthy dosing and monitor other effects. Testosterone generally gives frequently better life quality and health indicators in treated as compared to untreated patients with very low levels. Testosterone is an optional treatment and effects and risk should always evaluated on an individual basis by a provider experienced with those type of treatments.