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.
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.