ExcelMale.com identifies flaws in testosterone treatment at the VA hospital
Houston, TX -- (ReleaseWire) -- 11/20/2013 --The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) recently published a retrospective study (1) that was performed at the Veteran’s Administration (VA) hospital system. While it has long been known that testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) improves sexual function, bone density, lean body mass, and lipids, this study concluded that testosterone therapy may increase the risk of cardiovascular problems in men with a history of heart disease. It cautioned that men with pre-existing cardiovascular problems and testosterone deficiency should avoid TRT. ExcelMale.com, an education website for men, identified major flaws in this study that wrongly alarmed patients, physicians and the media.
While it is commendable that the VA hospital system collected data on the use of testosterone in over 8,000 veterans with cardiovascular disease, the study highlights deficiencies in the hospital system’s testosterone management protocol.
The VA study showed that 40% of patients did not have their testosterone blood levels retested after they started testosterone. This lack of follow up contradicts a review of guidelines published on 2011 by the American College of Cardiology Foundation that The Endocrine Society, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, and the European Association of Urology recommendations of monitoring patients' blood analysis 3 months after initiation of testosterone therapy (2) to determine TRT dose adjustments and potential side effects.
A previously study (3) also published in JAMA in 2009 showed that men with total testosterone blood levels below 550 ng/dl had a significant increase in their risk of cardiovascular disease, while men with levels above 550 ng/dl reduced their risk by 30%. Monitored participants in the VA study were only able to increase their total testosterone blood levels to 332 ng/dl, a value considered sub-optimal by all testosterone treatment medical guidelines.
Another shortcoming of the VA hospital system’s TRT protocol highlighted by the study is the lack of monitoring and managing of hematocrit (red cell volume) and estradiol (a female hormone produced in the body from testosterone). TRT can increase hematocrit and estradiol in a minority of men resulting in increased blood viscosity and cardiovascular risks as documented in the previously mentioned 2009 JAMA study (4). Fortunately, both variables can be easily managed if patients are properly monitored.
The majority of participants in the VA study used testosterone patches. Once a popular method of testosterone delivery, testosterone patches are no longer used due to their poor absorption and inconvenience. This is reflected in the VA study where most of the participants continued to have testosterone deficiency and increased cardiovascular risk.
"Publishing flawed studies only increases the current misconceptions surrounding this important therapy and unnecessarily alarms TRT patients and their physicians", said Nelson Vergel, founder of ExcelMale.com. "We encourage patients, physicians and the media to closely examine studies for misleading information that could increase barriers to life saving therapies", added Vergel.
"We urge the VA hospital system to revise their TRT protocol and to follow current testosterone guidelines. We want only the best for the men who have served our country", said Keith Willse, co-founder of ExcelMale.com.
ExcelMale.com is a peer reviewed and moderated safe platform where men can privately and securely share information and experiences about health and productivity. It is moderated daily for content and enforcement of a code of conduct and provides well organized archives of articles, forum chats, product reviews, and videos related to:
- Testosterone replacement,
- erectile dysfunction and sex drive,
- fat loss and muscle gain,
- energy boosters,
- and all things related to men’s health and productivity.
For more information and patient/clinician education on testosterone, visit http://www.ExcelMale.com
1- JAMA. 2013;310(17):1829-1836.
2- J Am Coll Cardiol. 2011;58(16):1674-1681.
3- JAMA. 2009 May 13;301(18):1892-901.
4- JAMA. 2009 May 13;301(18):1892-901.