January 30, 2014
Low Testorerone Therapies Could Be Putting Some Men At Heart Attack Risk
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Men taking testosterone therapy drugs could be putting themselves at a twofold increase for risk of a heart attack.
Researchers publishing a paper in the journal PLOS ONE found that men under 65-years-old with a history of heart disease who suffer from low testosterone levels and have sought out treatment could be putting themselves at a higher heart attack risk shortly after beginning the therapy.
Advertisements for “low T” levels suggest that men with diminished levels may experience a loss in sex drive, diminished energy and moodiness. These ads have helped therapies like Androgel -- a gel testosterone therapy available -- see its sales rush past Viagra in 2013.
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) researchers looked into the effects of taking testosterone supplements for men who have a history of heart disease. Previous studies had raised some concern about possible adverse cardiovascular outcomes associated with testosterone therapy. One of these studies was stopped after the men in the randomized clinical trial started to experience a variety of cardiovascular events.
"We decided to investigate cardiovascular risks of this therapy in a large health care database since these previous studies were modest in size and only focused on men 65 and older," Sander Greenland, a professor of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and a professor of statistics in the UCLA College of Letters and Science, said in a statement. "Our study allowed us to examine cardiovascular risk in men under the age of 65 and to replicate the findings in men over 65."
The team used data from Truven Health Analytics, examining the health care records of over 55,000 men who had been prescribed testosterone therapy. They discovered a twofold increase in men under 65 with heart disease and confirmed earlier findings of a twofold increase in men over 65 with or without heart disease.
"The extensive and rapidly increasing use of testosterone treatment and the evidence of risk of heart attack underscore the urgency of further large studies of the risks and the benefits of this treatment," Greenland, the study’s lead author, said. "Patients and their physicians should discuss the risk of heart attacks when considering testosterone therapy."
The researchers said the study emphasizes the urgency of the previous clinical trials to assess the range of benefits and risks associated with testosterone therapies.
“Until that time clinicians might be well advised to include serious cardiovascular events in their discussions with patients of potential risks, particularly for men with existing cardiovascular disease,” the team wrote in the journal.