The Wall Street Journal reports that testosterone therapy raises the risk of death, heart attack and stroke by about 30% according to a new study. Based on the study, doctors are emphasizing the need to re-evaluate the risks and benefits of testosterone therapy to treat low testosterone: "Prior to this study, we didn't know much about the cardiovascular risk," said Michael Ho, a cardiologist at the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System, senior author of the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. "Men taking testosterone have to ask themselves whether the risks are worth the benefits they may be receiving," he said.
This study is not the first to link testosterone therapy with cardiovascular problems. In 2009, researchers halted a trial funded by the National Institutes of Health of about 200 frail older men with a high prevalence of heart disease due to a high rate of heart attacks among those taking testosterone. The new study raised similar concerns: Of the men in the study, 1,223 had testosterone therapy - and nearly 26% of them suffered a heart attack, stroke or died for any reason within the next three years. That compared with 20% of those not taking testosterone. The men taking testosterone were slightly younger and had lower rates of other illnesses.
Doctors are beginning to warn against the trend of readily prescribing testosterone therapy. Cardiologist Steven Nissen of the Cleveland Clinic said he and other experts "saw trouble on the horizon" with the rising use of testosterone. "I get it - men want to feel stronger. But we should insist on long-term well-designed safety trials."
If you or a loved one had a heart attack or stroke or if a loved one died after taking testosterone therapy to treat low testosterone, please call our office for a free consultation.