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Low-T drugs are used as “Low Testosterone Replacement” therapy. Although these drugs are nothing new, they have come under some scrutiny from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that is working to determine if the drugs are or are not safe.
Even though low-T drugs have FDA approval, there has been some concern raised regarding the safety based on two studies that showed these treatments increased the risk of heart problems.
In a press release, the FDA stated that FDA-approved low-T drugs used as testosterone treatment increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and even death. For that reason, patients are being advised to talk to their doctors about these concerns prior to stopping the prescribed medication. With that, doctors have the opportunity to weigh the pros and cons on a patient-by-patient basis.
As stated by the FDA, low-T drugs are approved only for testosterone therapy and in limited cases. These drugs are intended only for men that due to various medical conditions now have low testosterone levels. In addition, none of the low-T drugs available are to be used by men with low levels of testosterone who do not have a firm diagnosis of specific conditions under which the drugs were granted approval.
These conditions include a number of medical conditions whereby the testicles no longer produce testosterone, which includes problems associated with genetics, chemotherapy side effects, two particular brain structures, and issues with the pituitary and hypothalamus gland.
Normally, levels of testosterone fall between 300 and 900 nanograms per deciliter. According to Dr. Michael Eisenberg, urologist and director of male reproductive medicine and surgery at California’s Stanford Hospital and Clinics, there is little evidence that proves men within these ranges would have any benefit from low-T drug therapy.
As far as benefits of low-T drugs, low levels of testosterone usually lead to problems relating to sexual function so in those instances, these medications are beneficial. In addition to more interest in sex, men have the ability to maintain an erection longer and orgasms are typically better. Along with normal sexual function, men often experience an improved level of confidence and self-worth.
There have also been a number of studies done that show men with low levels of testosterone typically have shortened lifespans so low-T drugs play a critical role in this area as well. These medications also strengthen bones, prevent osteoporosis, and some experts believe they aid in controlling blood sugar levels.
Along with a number of notable benefits, low-T drugs carry risks. For one thing, there are unique side effects that include enlarged breasts, the onset of acne, and sleep apnea. There is also risk for the development of blood clots. Additionally, if a female or child were to touch testosterone in the form of gel or cream, it could cause serious health problems such as premature puberty and extreme hair growth.
However, the biggest concern now being raised as to the safety of low-T drugs has to do with heart problems, as well as risk of prostate cancer. For the past 20 years, research has been ongoing to help identify a possible connection between testosterone replacement therapy and this form of cancer. While some medical experts feel strongly there is a link more research is needed to confirm the risk.
The bottom line is that low-T drugs offer benefits and risks. As to the drugs being safe, it is imperative for a man to talk to a reputable doctor so everything can be looked at in-depth and discussed. With this, the doctor and patient have the chance to address known risks and benefits, thereby determining if one outweighs the other.