Study: No Evidence of Benefits from Testosterone Therapy
Thanks to the enormous marketing power of pharmaceutical companies, testosterone therapy treatment for men with low testosterone, or Low T, has increased nearly fivefold over the last decade. Originally intended to treat the serious medical condition hypogonadism, these drugs have increasingly been prescribed as a cure for the natural conditions of aging, such as a reduced sex drive and loss of muscle mass.
A recent article in The New England Journal of Medicine raised concerns about the effectiveness and safety of using testosterone supplements to combat the effects of aging. According to Dr. Christine P. Nguyen, “The benefits of testosterone therapy have not been confirmed for the treatment of men who have low testosterone levels due to aging, even if there are symptoms that seem related to the low testosterone.”
The FDA recently required stronger warning labels on testosterone products because of concerns about increased cardiovascular risks, such as heart attacks and strokes. To be fair, the evidence of long-term risks is mixed. At this point, we don’t know for sure. In fact, the study described in the article found no evidence of hardening of the arteries, a common cause of cardiovascular problems, among men undergoing testosterone therapy.
But the study also showed no improvement in sexual function, partner intimacy, or health-related quality of life, the specific conditions for which testosterone therapy is prescribed. While testosterone supplements may or may not be safe for your heart, there is no evidence that it provides any health benefits either.
Because most of the symptoms of Low T are also common in older men with normal testosterone levels, it is important to get a thorough medical evaluation before succumbing to the massive marketing campaigns touting the benefits of testosterone therapy. There’s a good chance there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re just getting older, like the rest of us.