Do You Need a Testosterone Booster?

2019-08-07
By: freemexy
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Do You Need a Testosterone Booster?

If you're a man of a certain age, you've probably noticed all the ads for supplemental testosterone, hinting that taking the male hormone could cure all that ails you, from waning sexual performance to dwindling muscle mass and strength.testosterone powder

And the ads have been working: The number of prescriptions written for testosterone have skyrocketed by more than 300 percent since 2001, reaching 7.2 million in 2013, according to a report published in 2016. Another study, published in JAMA in 2017, found that between 2009 and 2013, testosterone testing and treatment rose substantially in areas of the U.S. where such ads were very common.

An estimated 70 percent of these prescriptions for testosterone boosters are written for men between ages 40 and 60, though a study published in 2017 in the Journal of Urology found a fourfold increase in the rate of testosterone use among 18- to 45-year-old men between 2003 and 2013.

Other research suggests that all those prescriptions are good for the drug companies that make and sell the pills: Testosterone sales topped $2.2 billion in 2013, according to a 2017 editorial in JAMA.Although some men who take testosterone report better sexual function, most don't. That's in part because erectile dysfunction usually stems from low blood flow to the penis, caused by high cholesterol levels or high blood pressure, not low testosterone, according to the American Urological Association.

And taking a testosterone booster doesn't improve physical stamina or energy, either, according to a 2016 study of men 65 and older funded by the National Institutes of Health.

"My patients come in all the time asking for it after seeing all the direct-to-consumer ads telling them they absolutely need to take it," says Adam Cifu, M.D., a professor of medicine at the University of Chicago and co-author of "Ending Medical Reversal."

"Since there is so much demand, physicians feel pressure to prescribe it not to lose patients." Some doctors may believe what Cifu calls "marketing hypeĀ­-that testosterone will make a 60-year-old man with slightly low testosterone feel better. But it's medicalizing natural aging."

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