Testosterone Doubles Heart Attack Risk

In a previous post, I wrote about one of my concerns with testosterone therapy for men with “Low T”. One concern many physicians have is whether testosterone increases heart attack risk. The evidence is now pointing in that direction.

A new study has shown that men over 65 and younger men with a history of heart disease have twice their usual heart attack risk within months of starting testosterone replacement.

Men 65 and older had double the rate of heart attacks in the months after starting the drug, as did those younger than 65 with a previous diagnosis of heart disease. There was no evidence of greater risk in the younger men without a history of heart problems.
One question surrounding testosterone is whether any potential increase in cardiac risk is caused directly by the drug, or by its impact on behavior. Testosterone boosts libido, for example, which may spur older men to engage in strenuous sexual activity.
The new study sought to address this question by comparing the men using testosterone to a separate group of 170,000 older and middle-aged men who filled prescriptions for Viagra and Cialis. Those men did not experience more heart attacks. The new research was led by a team at the National Cancer Institute, the University of California, Los Angeles, and Consolidated Research, an independent research firm specializing in epidemiology.
In November, a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that older men, many with a history of heart disease, had a nearly 30 percent increase in mortality, heart attacks and stroke after using testosterone. And in 2009, a federally financed, randomized study that was intended to test whether testosterone gel could help elderly men build muscle and strength was halted early because of heart attacks and other cardiac problems in men using the drug.


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