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NEJM Warns Testosterone Therapy Increases Cardiovascular Risks

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The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) reports that a recent study has shown that testosterone therapy significantly increases the risk of certain cardiovascular risks, including stroke, heart attack and death. NEJM report that although testosterone therapy, often marketed to consumers for “low T,” is increasingly common,  prospective long-term safety studies are lacking. A randomized trial of testosterone therapy in frail older men was stopped early, because adverse cardiovascular events occurred more frequently in the active-treatment group (NEJM JW Gen Med Jul 15 2010).

In the recent retrospective study, researchers evaluated data from 8709 male veterans (mean age, 63) with coronary artery disease or risk factors who underwent coronary angiography and had testosterone levels <300 ng/dL.During a mean follow-up of 27 months, myocardial infarction, stroke, or death occurred in 26% of men who received testosterone and in 20% of those who did not — a significant difference. The difference was the same regardless of coronary artery disease status.

NEJM reports that these results reinforce the concerns of many clinicians — we know very little about the risks of this hormonal therapy that is being promoted vigorously. For now, clinicians are forced to balance the demands of men, fueled by intense direct-to-consumer advertising, with the theoretical and empirical concerns about long-term risks of testosterone therapy.

If you or a loved one have suffered a heart attack or stroke after undergoing testosterone replacement therapy, please call our office at (888) 606-5297 for a free consultation.

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