9 things men should know about testosterone replacement therapyMen seek it out to combat low energy and decreased sex drive. Prescription testosterone has become so popular that so-called "low T" clinics are becoming common sights in cities and suburbs. The number of testosterone prescriptions written in the U. But researchers suspect that much of the testosterone dispensed china steroid supplier low-T clinics isn't tracked, since it's often bought with cash. This unfettered flow of testosterone — officially a controlled substance — has raised concerns among doctors trt treatment near me specialize in hormonal problems.
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Men seek it out to combat low energy and decreased sex drive. Prescription testosterone has become so popular that so-called "low T" clinics are becoming common sights in cities and suburbs. The number of testosterone prescriptions written in the U. But researchers suspect that much of the testosterone dispensed at low-T clinics isn't tracked, since it's often bought with cash.
This unfettered flow of testosterone — officially a controlled substance — has raised concerns among doctors who specialize in hormonal problems. Karpman says low-T clinics aren't in the business of treating the complex medical problems that often masquerade as low energy and decreased sex drive.
Those can include sleep apnea, depression and, perhaps most importantly, heart disease. Hormone treatment itself isn't without risk: A recent study of more than 55, men found a doubling of heart-attack risk among older men who used testosterone.
Younger men who had a history of heart disease had a higher incidence of nonfatal heart attacks. In addition, men who are on prolonged high-level testosterone replacement therapy can experience testicular shrinkage. Yet even as calls for closer scrutiny of the treatment intensify, the clinics continue to draw in men like Greg Lucas. At 25, Lucas was single and a rising star at a Dallas software company.
But he didn't quite feel right — his energy, his sleep, his libido were all lagging. He was having trouble managing his weight, too. His symptoms sounded a lot like those described in an advertisement for low testosterone.
So Lucas decided to do what the ad recommended: His levels, after all, were in the bottom 5 percent of normal — that seemed out of step for a year-old man. Lucas was seriously overweight, and his doctor advised him to diet and get more exercise. The problems persisted, though, and Lucas pressed his doctor for the next three years or so about testosterone treatment.
Each time, he got the brushoff. Lucas did manage to start exercising at a gym, but he wasn't losing much weight. Then a coach mentioned that testosterone treatment could be the answer to his mothballed mojo and suggested he get a second opinion at a low-T clinic. He started searching online and ended up calling a clinic in Dallas. Finally, it seemed, someone was listening to him. Lucas says the testosterone therapy changed his life: He lost weight and got his energy back. He only wishes his regular doctor would treat him for low T, so that his insurance would cover the bills.
Despite Lucas' positive experience, the risks and health benefits of long-term testosterone therapy are not well understood. The Food and Drug Administration is reassessing the safety of testosterone products. A spokesperson reiterated the agency's own guidelines: None of the products approved by the FDA should be prescribed unless low testosterone is associated with a medical condition. Some doctors warn patients to stay away from low-T clinics.
Bradley Anawalt is one of those doctors. He heads the Hormone Health Network , part of the professional association for endocrinologists which has released clinical guidelines for testosterone therapy. Anawalt calls the low-T clinics "sex hormone factories" that promote all the potential virtues and great myths about how testosterone may solve all problems. But there's no evidence that the clinics are unsafe, either.
State medical boards typically investigate only when patients file complaints, and there hasn't been an outpouring of accusations against the clinics. But a review of physicians working for a number of low-T clinics found that very few specialized in urology or endocrinology.
Instead, one doctor at a Chicago clinic and another in Fort Lauderdale were anesthesiologists; in Houston, an allergist; in Phoenix, an osteopath; and in Washington, D.
The clinics themselves say they're legitimate medical practices. His company has 45 offices and some 35, patients. Reilly says patients must have a diagnosed medical condition. Here's some testosterone,' " Reilly says. We go through their symptoms. Reilly says some 15, men have been turned away from his clinics with no treatment because they don't meet the medical definition of low testosterone. And those with sleep apnea or high blood pressure or other serious illnesses are encouraged to see their family doctor.
Before joining Low T Center, Reilly was a joint surgeon. He doesn't believe medical training in urology or endocrinology is necessary to do the job well. You don't need to be a urologist," says Reilly. And we study more about testosterone than they do. We basically follow the national endocrinology guidelines.
Reilly says the growing criticism from others in the medical community is perhaps just ignorance and fear of competition. After all, Low T Center expects to more than double its number of sites in the next year, reaching perhaps as many as 70, patients.
Accessibility links Skip to main content Keyboard shortcuts for audio player. Shots - Health News Clinics touting prescription testosterone as the answer to low energy and decreased sex drive are proliferating across the country.
But these "low T" clinics may be putting men's health at risk. Facebook Twitter Flipboard Email. April 28, 3: Heard on Morning Edition.