Between 2002 and 2013, use of testosterone in the U.S. rose six-fold to about 3 percent of all men over age 30, but since then it has dropped by half, according to a new analysis in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The decline followed the release of two studies linking prescription testosterone to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes and an FDA rule requiring the products to carry a warning about this risk. There has long been controversy about the safety and efficacy of testosterone therapy, as well as about claims that it will give older men youthful vigor, better erections, and improved health.
The FDA has approved the treatment only for men who have very low blood testosterone levels and related symptoms, but many men prescribed testosterone don’t have low levels or haven’t even had their blood hormone levels measured.
This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.