You may have previously heard of reports that men who use testosterone supplements are at a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. Many men have been conflicted with these reports, as low testosterone can also lead to other health concerns. But now, a new study involving more than 25,000 older men suggests that there is no link between testosterone and a risk for heart attack and stroke.
“The study, funded by the U.S. Institutes of Health, was developed out of a growing concern that testosterone therapy was putting men at risk for cardiovascular disease,” said lead researcher Jacques Baillargeon, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. The study appears in the July 2 issue of the Annals of Pharmacotherapy.
The study examines 25,420 Medicare beneficiaries, 66 years or older, treated with testosterone for up to eight years. The analyses showed that testosterone therapy was not associated with an increased risk of heart attack or stroke, and furthermore, testosterone users with a high probability of cardiovascular problems had a lower rate of heart attacks in comparison to patients who didn’t receive testosterone therapy.
“This is critically important for HIV-positive men in particular because World Health Clinicians published in Postgraduate Medicine that 66 percent of HIV-positive men have low testosterone,” said Dr. Gary Blick, founder and chief medical officer of World Health Clinicians (WHC, www.worldhealthclinicians.org). “And since simply having HIV is a risk factor that may triple one's risk for having a heart attack, not unlike having diabetes or being a cigarette smoker, it is comforting to know that taking testosterone supplements does not increase risk for future cardiovascular events like heart attack and stroke.”
Testosterone therapy has increased dramatically in the past decade as men seek to combat low energy, loss of muscle tone and sex drive among other side effects of low testosterone. Previous studies on the safety of testosterone supplements presented conflicting findings, with some suggesting that testosterone is linked to a higher risk of heart attack. Doctors, researchers and government agencies alike agree that more research is needed.
: University of Texas Medical Branch, news release, July 2, 2014