The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently looking into their own approved products after a new study published by PLoS ONE revealed startling new results which showed testosterone based products have doubled the rate of heart attacks in men aged 65 and older. The study tracked around 56,000 Americans who were using testosterone products between 2008 and 2010, and examined the rate of heart attacks one year before starting the new prescriptions and three months after. What they concluded clearly demonstrated that these products (non FDA-approved), which are intended to help could be the cause of killer consequences.
How Does This Happen?
The way testosterone works is by increasing the production of red blood cells. These cells do have a tendency to clump together, which makes the blood thicker. According to Mary Schooling, a professor of public health from Hunter College, this could be dangerous for older men who already have their arteries narrowed due to things like aging and disease. Heart attacks are caused by a lack of blood flowing to the heart, so arteries that become clogged with blood clots are naturally more likely to end up causing heart attacks.
While testosterone based products are often prescribed by doctors for a number of legitimate medical reasons such as genetic problems or chemotherapy, they are also often taken for non-medical reasons. For instance, men may take them to reduce drowsiness after eating dinner, to fix a reduced libido or to help solve their deteriorating ability to play sports. The products that are used in these situations have not been FDA-approved, which means they have not been tested. These are the products that could be killers responsible for causing heart attacks. The FDA has stated that men have no reason to panic or cease taking their prescribed FDA-approved testosterone medications without at least first checking with their doctors.
Advertising and its Influx
By in large, it may be thanks to an increase in advertising over the past few years that has caused many older men to seek out testosterone based products. Firms such as Abbott and Eli Lilly have increased their spending on advertising by 170 percent since 2009, and the average life expectancy in the U.S. is now 78 years. There are a lot of men who want to stay active as they get older. Damon Lease, who is 50 years of age and a former marathon runner, hopes to continue biking, hiking and maintaining an active sex life for as long as possible. He, for one, has found that taking two testosterone injections a week helped him feel 20 years younger and stop taking two different medications.
As it currently stands, testosterone drugs do not issue warnings about increased cardiac risk in their advertisements. Whether that will change, remains to be seen. The results of the study are also not yet clear about whether or not FDA-approved testosterone products are dangerous or if the doubled chance at receiving a heart attack applies to all men. According to Dr. Peter J. Snyder from the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine, it has not been established if all men who take these medications could be at risk or only the ones who already have normal levels of testosterone and are simply taking the enhancement products in addition. Now that these initial findings have been revealed, further research will help people understand if all testosterone products are killers and cause for concern or only some of them.
By Jonathan Holowka