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Doctors Reconsider Prescribing Testosterone in Light of Risks

Posted on Nov 26, 2013

Stephanie Vaccaro reports for CentralJersey.com that doctors across the country are pausing and reconsidering their positions on prescribing testosterone replacement drugs, like Axiron, AndroGel, Testopel and Androderm. A recent study found that testosteone therapy can cause an increase of 29% in the risk of heart attack, stroke and death. Dr. Muhammad Azam, of the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro, noted the significance of the findings. In the past, there was little data suggesting adverse effects of testosterone therapy. ”Maybe we will be going back to not treating the patients unless they’re having severe symptoms of low testosterone levels,” Dr. Azam says.

”What they noted was that after one and a half years, the patient was having trouble with heart attacks, stroke, so they stopped the study and said we’re not going to treat the patients with testosterone anymore,” Dr. Azam says. ”So, I think we will be a little bit more conservative with testosterone therapy until something else comes in,” he adds. “That’s new information. Before that, we were eager to start testosterone to help the patient.” He says physicians will continue to give their patients the option of testosterone therapy while explaining to them that doing so may put them at increased risk for heart disease, stroke and mortality.

Prior to the study published in JAMA in early November, he says the common thought was that male patients should be tested and that those with lower levels of testosterone should be treated in order to bring their levels back to normal. Treatment comes in a number of forms, including: gel and patches that patients can apply once a day to the upper part of the body; injections that can be done every one to three weeks, and implants that can put into the armpit via surgery, which last three to four months.

But, Dr. Azam noted, the previously known risks associated with testosterone replacement therapy do not compare to the most recent findings of the study published in JAMA. Given the findings, he felt that vigilance is necessary for patients who elect to have testosterone therapy.
If you or a loved one have suffered a heart attack or stroke after taking a testosterone therapy, please call our office at (888) 606-5297 for a free consultation.

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