According to a new study published in the September 2015 issue of Medical Care, nearly 1 in 6 patients who received testosterone boosters from the Department of Veterans Affairs medical system did not receive a testosterone measurement. Between 2009 and 2012, more than 112,000 men received products to treat low testosterone without any testing.
Doctor Shalender Bhasin, an expert endocrinologist and prominent testosterone researcher, told the Harvard Health Publications that despite the low cost of measuring testosterone levels, many patients never have it done. But some clinics prescribe low testosterone boosters indiscriminately, according to Dr. Bhasin.
Dr. Bhasin was part of a team that outlined the guidelines for testosterone therapy in men in 2010, a list that included clear-cut signs of hypogonadism, also known as low testosterone. However, because the symptoms closely mirror natural signs of aging, the team stressed the need for proper clinical testing before administering Low T drugs.
Despite the American Endocrine Society’s call for careful testing, testosterone booster manufacturers have targeted men by advertising common symptoms of hypogonadism, including low libido and fatigue. Many patients who may experience some symptoms seek out testosterone therapy clinics, where a large percentage of the products are prescribed.
In addition to more than 16 percent of patients not receiving proper testing, some patients are being prescribed testosterone products despite severe conditions which should prohibit them from using testosterone boosters, such as prostate cancer. According to Dr. Bhasin, patients should receive information before they receive products.
In addition to potentially being over-prescribed, testosterone boosters have been linked to severe complications. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced in 2014 that it would investigate the products to determine potentially severe testosterone booster side effects, including heart attacks and stroke.