Men with low levels of testosterone are known to have diminished sex drive, along with lower energy, motivation and performance in bed. As a result, many doctors are prescribing testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) in an effort to boost testosterone levels up to normal to recharge a man’s sex drive, muscle mass, vitality and health. Unfortunately, there are known associated risks involved with TRT products along with uncertain safety issues that have not been fully assessed.
Testosterone is a naturally made hormone in the body. In men, it is primarily produced in the testicles and maintains a variety of body functions including:
• Sperm production
• Sex motivation and drive
• Bone density
• The production of red blood cells
• Muscle mass and strength
• Fat distribution
When testosterone levels are reduced (low T), any one of the above functions can be diminished.
Hormone replacement manufacturers promote testosterone products through mass marketing campaigns, indicating that “low T” therapy is beneficial to men of varying ages. It is often prescribed to men who are eager to find a simple fix for their low levels of testosterone. However, even though no smoking gun exists to prove that testosterone therapy is outright dangerous, there appears to be associated risks and links to specific issues.
PLOS One, an online journal, recently published a study indicating a high-risk association of increased heart attacks in the months following the start of testosterone therapy. The research indicates that older men have the highest potential danger of cardiac problems. Additionally, in 2013, JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) showed an increased risk of complications after artery-opening angioplasty in men on TRT. As a result, many doctors are now recommending caution to men interested in starting testosterone replacement therapy.
Risks vs. Benefits
Today, millions of men in the United States use TRT therapy as a way to enhance their testosterone levels through an injection, patch or gel. The additional boost of the hormone has helped some men with very low T minimize their bone loss, increase their muscle mass, and enhance their libido. Unfortunately, mass marketing promotes low T replacement therapy as an ideal solution to help treat most men who want to feel more energetic, alert, and mentally sharp, while improving sexual function.
So do the associated risks outweigh the benefits?
For many men, testosterone replacement solutions can produce immediate side effects including the development of tender or enlarged breasts, acne, and ankle swelling. Some men experience an overproduction of the body’s red blood cells, which can lead to an increased potential of developing life-threatening blood clots in veins and arteries.
Doctors, researchers and testosterone replacement marketers have yet to determine the long-term associated risks involved in TRT. Taking extra amounts of testosterone appears to pose significant issues for the heart. Some researchers believe further study needs to be done to see if the therapy has the potential of stimulating prostate cancer growth.
Associated Side Effects
There are studies indicating that men that take testosterone have lower numbers of heart issues. Although, it is still unclear whether there is an associated risk between prostate cancer and TRT. Known side effects include an increased potential of:
An FDA Warning
In January 2014, the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) issued a safety announcement indicating they will investigate the potential risks involved in FDA approved testosterone products. In addition, the agency warned doctors to perform a “risks versus benefits” evaluation whenever prescribing testosterone products. They also remind doctors that TRT is FDA-approved only for men who suffer with low testosterone concomitant with a variety of other associated medical conditions.
Numerous men with a history of taking testosterone supplements who have suffered life altering significant side effects have already filed testosterone replacement lawsuits. These men are seeking compensation for the negligence of the doctor who improperly prescribed them a testosterone product, along with the low T product manufacturer for making false marketing claims that resulted in injury.