Washington: A new study has found that testosterone replacement therapy does not increase the risk of heart related problems, such as a heart attack or stroke, in men.
Researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Murray, Utah, studied 5,695 men between the ages of 53 and 71. The men, all patients at Intermountain Healthcare hospitals, had initial low testosterone levels.
It was found that the men who received testosterone supplementation to achieve normal or high testosterone levels had reduced overall rates of major adverse cardiac events at one and three years after their initial low levels of testosterone were measured, compared to other men who had persistently low levels of testosterone. The lower rate of cardiac events included a reduction in the adjusted risk of death and a reduction in heart attacks.
The study comes at an important time, as the U.S. Federal Drug Administration is evaluating the safety of testosterone supplementation and whether it was a risk to the health of older men.
According to the FDA, 1.3 million patients received a prescription for testosterone therapy in 2010. By 2013, the number rose to 1.3 million patients, with men ages 40 to 64 making up 70 percent of the prescriptions.
The new findings that testosterone therapy is generally safe and does not increase the risk of major adverse cardiac events for men with low levels of testosterone, provides assurance to physicians across the country to use it when it's needed with less concern about its effect on their patients' heart health.
Lead researcher for the study Dr. Jeffrey Anderson, said that while the study provides reassurance about the safety of using supplementation to move from low to normal levels of testosterone, more studies, particularly large randomized studies, were needed.
The findings are due to be reported at 2014 AHA Scientific Session.