(HealthDay News) – Most websites promoting testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) do not mention the risk of side effects, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association, held from May 4–8 in San Diego.
Daniel T. Oberlin, MD, from the Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation in Chicago, and colleagues performed a Google search of “testosterone replacement” in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia to examine how TRT providers promote TRT on their patient-oriented websites.
The researchers identified websites for 70 TRT providers, of which 34% were directed by non-physicians, 49% were run by physicians who were not urologists or endocrinologists, and 17% were managed by urologists or endocrinologists. Industry relationships were disclosed for 20% of websites, 95% promoted the benefits of TRT, and 21% denied that TRT was associated with significant side effects. TRT risks were discussed significantly more often on websites run by urologists or endocrinologists (41% vs. 20%). Gynecomastia was described as a potential risk of TRT significantly more often on websites run by urologists or endocrinologists (31% vs. 16%), while 7.1% of websites denied that gynecomastia was a potential side effect of TRT.
“The majority of websites that promote TRT do not mention treatment risks,” Oberlin and colleagues conclude. “There is substantial variability in quality of content on TRT provider websites, which may contribute to misinformation regarding this expanding field.”