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Heart attack, stroke linked to testosterone therapy

A smiling older man sitting in a chair.

Aug. 23, 2019—Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) has become a common treatment among older men with low testosterone levels over the past 20 years. TRT can help reduce fatigue or small declines in sexual function.

However, a new study suggests that men who take TRT may be at increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke. That's especially true during the first two years of using the medication.

The study focused on men whose testosterone levels were low due to aging rather than other health issues.

Researchers examined the medical records of more than 15,000 men. All had low testosterone levels and were 45 or older.

The study found that those taking TRT were 21% more likely to experience a cardiovascular event. These included a heart attack, stroke or warning stroke.

However, the increased risk went down after the men had been taking TRT for two years.

One of the study's lead researchers explained that there was little evidence for TRT's long-term benefits for otherwise healthy men. She also stressed that more research was needed to confirm the findings of this study.

If you're a man who is thinking about taking TRT, be sure to discuss the pros and cons of the therapy with your doctor.

The full study was published online in April. It will appear in print in the September issue of The American Journal of Medicine .

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