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Testosterone Treatment Tied to Heart Risks in Older Men

Authors note increased risk of mortality, MI, and ischemic stroke (November 6)

According to a new study published in JAMA, older men who take testosterone are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke or to die over the next few years.

Researchers in Texas and Colorado conducted a retrospective national cohort study of 8,709 men with low testosterone levels (< 300 ng/dL) who underwent coronary angiography in the Veterans Affairs (VA) system between 2005 and 2011. Of these men, 1,223 (mean age, 61 years) received testosterone therapy, and 7,486 (mean age, 64 years) did not. The study’s primary outcome was a composite of all-cause mortality, myocardial infarction (MI), and ischemic stroke.

Of the 1,223 men who received testosterone treatment, 67 died, 23 had MIs, and 33 had strokes. Of the 7,486 men who did not receive testosterone treatment, 681 died, 420 had MIs, and 486 had strokes. The absolute rates of events were 25.7% in the testosterone therapy group compared with 19.9% in the no testosterone therapy group, with an absolute risk difference of 5.8%, at 3 years after coronary angiography.

The authors concluded that, among this cohort of male veterans who underwent coronary angiography and had a low serum testosterone level, testosterone therapy was associated with an increased risk of mortality, MI, or ischemic stroke. The findings were not modified by the presence of coronary artery disease.

Source: JAMA; November 6, 2013.

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