Millions of American men use a prescription testosterone gel or injection to restore normal levels of the manly hormone. The ongoing pharmaceutical marketing blitz promises that treating “low T” this way can make men feel more alert, energetic, mentally sharp, and sexually functional.

However, legitimate safety concerns linger. For example, in November 2013 a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association reported new evidence that some older men on testosterone could face higher cardiac risks – and its long-term effects on progression of atherosclerosis are unknown.


To assess the effect of testosterone on atherosclerosis progression in older men with low or low-normal testosterone levels.


The rates of atherosclerosis progression, did not differ significantly between the two study group.  Moreover, there was no significant difference in sexual desire, erectile function, overall sexual function scores, partner intimacy, and health-related quality of life between the groups.


The authors concluded:

“Among older men with low or low-normal testosterone levels, testosterone administration for 3 years vs placebo did not result in a significant difference in the rates of change in either common carotid artery intima-media thickness or coronary artery calcium nor did it improve overall sexual function or health-related quality of life.  Because this trial was only powered to evaluate atherosclerosis progression, these findings should not be interpreted as establishing cardiovascular safety of testosterone use in older men.”