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FDA investigating heart risks for patients undergoing testosterone therapy

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US federal regulators said Friday they were investigating products containing testosterone after recent studies suggested a higher risk of strokes and heart attacks in men being treated with the hormone.

The Food and Drug Administration stressed, however, that it has “not concluded that FDA-approved testosterone treatment increases the risk of stroke, heart attack or death.”

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“FDA is providing this alert while it continues to evaluate the information from these studies and other available data,” it said in a safety alert, referring to two related studies.

Patients undergoing testosterone therapy should not stop their treatment without consulting their physician first, the FDA recommended.

Health care professionals were also asked to consider whether the benefits of FDA-approved testosterone treatment were likely to outweigh the possible risk of treatment.

The announcement followed publication of a study on Wednesday by the PLOS ONE science journal suggesting that men aged 65 and older being treated with testosterone were twice as likely to suffer heart attacks in the month after they began treatment.

The study, which analyzed findings from 56,000 men in the United States between 2008 and 2010, also revealed a sharply increased risk among younger men with a history of heart disease.

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In November, a separate clinical study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that older men using testosterone, including many with a history of heart problems, faced a 30 percent greater chance of mortality, heart attack or cardiovascular event.

A US government-funded study to determine whether men using testosterone gel to build muscle and increase strength was halted in 2009 after the high rate of cardiovascular problems related to the treatment.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]


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How prisoners, soldiers and Mormon missionaries make the census more complicated

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The U.S. census is the most democratic and inclusive activity we do as a country.

For demographers like myself, this once-a-decade count serves as the backbone of virtually every product that we use to understand who Americans are, how they’ve changed and what this might mean for the future. The U.S. also uses the census counts to distribute political power and allocate funding for everything from highway spending to programs like Medicare and Head Start.

But not all groups are equally likely to be counted in the census.

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National Guard joins the coronavirus response – 3 questions answered

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As a military organization divided into 50 distinct parts that can be commanded by either the president or state governors, the National Guard is perhaps the least understood branch of the U.S. armed forces.

Despite its complexity – or perhaps because of it – the National Guard is taking the lead role in the military’s response to the coronavirus outbreak crisis.

As many as 10,000 National Guard members have already been activated to help communities around the country, with many more expecting a call-up soon. People may know, from TV ads or other brief appearances in the media, that National Guard members are part-time citizen-soldiers, but not much else.

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What early Christian communities tell us about giving financial aid at a time of crises

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Sometime in the late second century A.D., Christians in the city of Rome organized a collection to send to the followers of Jesus in the city of Corinth.

Modern-day scholars don’t know what the crisis was that prompted the donation – it could have been a plague or a famine. What they do know from fragments of a letter sent by the Corinthian bishop, Dionysios, is that a large sum of money was shipped to Corinth.

As a scholar of early Christianity, I have written about this act of generosity. At a time when countries across the globe are struggling to fight the coronavirus and its economic impact, I argue modern society could learn from the actions of these early Christians.

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