Newswise — U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisers will make a recommendation today on testosterone-replacement therapy for men and the potential risk of heart attacks associated with its use.

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) endocrinologist Norma Lopez, MD, is available to comment on this. Dr. Lopez believes testosterone therapy should be prescribed on an individual basis after weighing the risks and benefits.

“Testosterone levels and other health issues should be taken into consideration when determining if a patient is a good candidate for this therapy,” said Dr. Lopez, assistant professor of endocrinology, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. “I commend the FDA advisory panel for raising awareness about the use of testosterone therapy and the potential risks associated with it.”

Dr. Lopez reports that more men use testosterone therapy now than in the past.

“There is more pressure placed on physicians now to prescribe testosterone therapy even when blood levels of the hormone may be borderline,” Dr. Lopez said. “Like any medication, testosterone therapy comes with risks, so we need to look closely at who is receiving this therapy and if it is absolutely necessary.”

Approximately 5 million men have low testosterone. Low levels of testosterone affect a man’s sex drive, physical features and mood. Signs of low testosterone include:

-Fatigue or decreased energy-Reduced sex drive-Sexual dysfunction-Depressed mood-Increased body fat-Reduced muscle mass and strength-Decreased bone strength-Loss of body hair-Hot flashes

Dr. Lopez encourages men to speak with their doctor and have their blood tested to determine if they are good candidates for testosterone therapy.

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