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Men's Health

Testosterone Therapy Not Always Good for Older Men

Experts are calling for a full evaluation of the risks and benefits of hormone therapy for older men with declining levels of testosterone.

The statement by the Endocrine Society was prompted by recent studies, one from the Veterans Health Care System and the other from the National Institutes of Health, that have raised concerns about the risks of testosterone therapy for older men with a history of heart disease.

Testosterone is already approved for the treatment of hypogonadism, or low hormone production, because it is linked to diseases of the testes, pituitary and hypothalamus. But it has not been approved for age-related symptoms or age-related declines in testosterone levels.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced it plans to evaluate the safety of testosterone therapy.

In the statement, the Society recommends that middle-aged and older men who are considering testosterone supplementation for age-related declines be informed of the potential risks. The Society also believes that it may be prudent not to administer testosterone therapy to men who have had a cardiovascular event in the preceding six months.

But, the Society added, in cases where men are being treated for hypogonadism as a result of known diseases of the testes, pituitary and hypothalamus, patients should consult their health care providers before making any changes to their medication regimen. The Society said it testosterone is generally safe and beneficial when used to treat young, hypogonadal men. 

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