or men with debilitating symptoms of low testosterone (like fatigue, muscle loss, and low mood), finding out that their history of cardiovascular disease or heightened risk may disqualify them from treatment adds insult to injury.
In 2010, a clinical trial on whether testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) could prevent muscle deterioration was halted after researchers observed a link between the administered testosterone gel and dangerous cardiovascular events and elevated blood pressure (1).
Shortly after, the FDA began requiring testosterone manufacturers to include warning labels that outlined the cardiovascular risk.
But results from a new double-blind clinical trial have begun to dispel the past assumption that TRT is dangerous for aging men with cardiovascular risk (2).
Is TRT Bad For Your Heart?
The study investigated the safety of TRT in men with both hypogonadism—a condition in which your body doesn’t produce adequate levels of testosterone—and a history or risk factors of cardiovascular events.
Over 5000 men between 45 and 80 years old were divided into two groups: those who were administered a 1.62 percent testosterone gel daily and those who received a placebo gel. Researchers found that both groups had similar rates (around 7 percent) of major cardiac events like heart attack or nonfatal stroke. This suggests that TRT does not significantly increase risk in men with preexisting cardiovascular risk.
However, the testosterone group reported higher instances of other side effects like irregular heart rhythm and acute kidney injury.
“We resolved one important question: Can we give testosterone to men with androgen deficiency to try to help them without harming them?” Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Steven Nissen, M.D., the study’s senior author, told the New York Times. “And the answer is, ‘yes.’”
BOOST YOUR T
Can I Take TRT After a Heart Attack?
The new research is promising, but men who have “uncontrolled or poorly controlled” congestive heart failure or those who have had a heart attack in the last three to six months may not be a good candidate for TRT, says Jim Staheli, D.O., Medical Director of Broad Health, Hone Health’s affiliated medical practice. And you’ll have to be carefully monitored by your doctor if you decide to take TRT after a major cardiac event.
If you suspect that you have low T, Hone Health’s at-home testosterone assessment tests eight testosterone biomarkers, including free and total testosterone, SHBG, and prolactin. If you qualify for treatment, TRT can be sent to your door.
Cire, Barbara. 2010. Adverse Cardiovascular Events Reported in Testosterone Trial in Older Men.
Lincoff, et al (2023). Cardiovascular Safety of Testosterone-Replacement Therapy.
Mangolim, et al (2021). Effectiveness of testosterone replacement in men with obesity: a systematic review and meta-analysis.