Prescription testosterone may relieve symptoms, such as diminished sex drive or low energy levels, and improve quality of life – for the right person. Here are four things you should know about this therapy option:
- Who would benefit from prescription testosterone?
Testosterone levels begin to decline during middle age. One in four men age 75 and older has low testosterone levels. Low testosterone is also common in men with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Symptoms associated with low testosterone levels include:
- Diminished sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Reduced muscle mass and strength
- Low energy levels
- Mood disorders, such as depression
If blood tests show low testosterone levels, prescription testosterone can help improve those symptoms. In addition, testosterone therapy can improve longevity, when compared to men with low testosterone who aren’t on therapy.
- Is there a link between prescription testosterone and heart risk?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reevaluating the safety of prescription testosterone after two studies suggested that men on the therapy may have an increased risk of cardiovascular problems.However, it’s important to note that the FDA has not yet concluded that prescription testosterone increases the risk of heart attack or stroke. The increased heart risk may be related to other factors, and many other studies have proven that testosterone therapy is indeed beneficial. So patients should not stop the medication without first consulting with their doctors.
- Should you stop testosterone therapy?
If you are currently taking prescription testosterone, you should not discontinue the therapy because of these recent studies. However, you should bring up your concerns with your doctor, who can help you decide on the best course of action. If the medicine is helping your symptoms, your doctor will most likely recommend you stay on the therapy. So unless your doctor says otherwise, continue taking the medication.
- If I am an older male, does that automatically mean I should be on testosterone therapy?
While prescription testosterone is beneficial for the right person, it has been over-prescribed by some physicians. It is not the right course of action for every man. Men should only take it if blood tests show that they have low testosterone levels. Also, the medication is meant to address specific symptoms; if after being on the therapy, the symptoms do not improve, your doctor may recommend discontinuing it. But like any drug, there are side effects. Always talk to your healthcare provider about stopping or starting medication regimens.For more information about prescription testosterone or other men’s health issues, visit The Men’s Clinic at UCLA.
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