Testosterone Therapy Doesn’t Harm Men’s Heart Health, Study Finds
A year of testosterone therapy for men with low levels of the hormone does not appear to increase their risk of heart problems, British researchers have found.
“We were unable to find evidence…that testosterone increases the risk of death or cardiovascular and/or cerebrovascular disease.” [heart and/or stroke] short- and medium-term events in men with low testosterone,” said Dr Channa Jayasena, study leader and head of andrology at Imperial College London.
As the researchers explained, testosterone raises hematocrit, which can increase the risk of blood clots (venous thromboembolism) that can travel to the heart or brain.
But the potential heart risks of testosterone therapy are unclear, and previous clinical trials have not provided enough evidence to know whether testosterone causes heart problems in the first year of treatment in humans.
To find answers, Jayasena and his colleagues analyzed 35 controlled trials that included more than 3,400 men with low testosterone.
Whether taking testosterone or a placebo, the men had the same overall risk of cardiac and/or cerebrovascular events such as stroke, the analysis found. Their risk for subtypes of these problems was also similar.
Men receiving testosterone had a lower death rate than those taking a placebo, but the difference was not considered statistically significant.
Testosterone therapy significantly reduced total cholesterol, “good” high-density lipoproteins (HDL), and triglycerides compared to placebo. But there were no significant differences between the testosterone and placebo groups in “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL), blood pressure, blood sugar, diabetes rates and prostate problems.
The findings were presented Monday at a meeting of the Endocrine Society in Atlanta. The study is also published in the journal The Lancet Healthy Longevity.
“Researchers from around the world have come together to share their findings to improve patient safety,” Jayasena said in a press release. “These data reassure men with low testosterone and their clinicians of the safety of testosterone in the short to medium term, although longer term data are needed.”
Testosterone therapy had positive effects on quality of life and sexual function, but results varied, depending on the results.
There’s more on low testosterone at the Urology Care Foundation.
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