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Is testosterone therapy safe for male patients?

Millions of American men are currently undergoing some form of testosterone therapy. According to the Associated Press, demand for prescription testosterone has spiked more than five times the rate at which it was sold just a few years ago. This kind of therapy now commands sales of well over $1 billion. However, recent evidence suggests that these prescription testosterone therapies may indeed be dangerous and defective products.

How could a product produced to simulate the functions of a natural hormone possibly be dangerous? According to a variety of different studies, current testosterone therapies may be placing men at increased risk of stroke, heart attack and death. These studies are so compelling that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a few days ago that it will begin reviewing the safety of several testosterone therapies.

Prescription testosterone therapies are currently available in a variety of forms. Injections, gels and patches are all currently being marketed to men who may suffer from conditions including fatigue, hypogonadism and low sex drive. Testosterone levels naturally decline in men who are over the age of 40. In an effort to compensate for natural loss of testosterone, many men are turning to these various therapies in order to feel younger and more invigorated.

However, the safety-related studies surrounding these therapies are compelling enough that men should speak with their physicians and think twice before opting to use them. Until the FDA advises the public otherwise, these therapies should be treated as posing a higher risk of stroke, heart attack and death in men.

Source: ABC News, “FDA Reviews Safety of Testosterone Therapy for Men,” Matthew Perrone, Feb. 1, 2014

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