AirTalk for July 10, 2013

Low testosterone therapy is on the rise, but is it safe?

Tommy Hemmert Olesen/Flickr

Prescriptions for testosterone for men 40 and older has been on the rise. But are testosterone supplements safe?

Television ads for low testosterone therapy claim it can boost libido, increase sexual health, aid in weight loss and reverse fatigue in men over 40, who naturally have lower testosterone levels than they did in their 20s. It's part of a widespread marketing campaign that has been encouraging men to seek out their doctors for treatment. A recent study in the JAMA Internal Medicine found that prescriptions for testosterone for men 40 and older rose 40 percent from 2001 to 2011.

However, despite its popularity, medical professionals are divided about what exactly counts as a low testosterone level and what should be done to treat the symptoms. Many of the symptoms touted by the television ads are typical side effects of age, but could be improved with changes to diet and exercise.   

What are the side effects of testosterone supplements? Is this just the latest direct-to-consumer marketing campaign by pharmaceutical companies or can testosterone therapy help give aging men a safe boost? Have you takes testosterone therapy?

Guests:

John Carmichael, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Karron Power, MD, MPH, hormone replacement and preventive medicine specialist and founder of Youth Renewal Center  


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