Drugs that promise to boost low testosterone levels are being aggressively marketed to older men even as their effectiveness and safety are questioned by some researchers.
USA Today reports that there are serious potential health impacts related to testosterone replacement therapy and the benefits are mixed. Meanwhile, prescriptions for testosterone patches, gels, and shots rose nearly 90 percent over the past five years.
Researchers say that because most trials to date have only followed patients for a short period, the long-term side effects of testosterone replacement are not clear, writes USA Today. However, serious risks include heart problems and prostate cancer.
A large study of testosterone in older men was halted by Boston University researchers in 2010 because patients taking the hormone were five times more likely to suffer a serious heart event than those taking placebo, reports USA Today.