Testosterone Prescribing Trends Examined in the US

Decline coincided with reports linking testosterone to adverse cardiovascular events.
Decline coincided with reports linking testosterone to adverse cardiovascular events.

HealthDay News — The percentage of US men receiving testosterone prescriptions decreased from 2013 through 2016, according to a research letter published in the July 10 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In an effort to assess recent trends in testosterone prescribing (2002 through 2016), Jacques Baillargeon, PhD, from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and colleagues used data from the commercial health insurance database Clinformatics Data Mart to identify 9,962,538 men 30 years and older with continuous enrollment during the index and prior year. A minimum of 1,823,000 men were included in any year. Persons in the South and those aged 21 to 64 years were overrepresented in the data set. 

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The researchers found that total testosterone use increased among men from 0.52% in 2002 to 3.20% in 2013, but then decreased to 1.67% in 2016. A similar pattern was seen for new users, established users, and all age groups. There was variance by geographic region in the percentage of new testosterone, but the relative decreases were similar across regions.

"The steepest decrease coincided with two published reports of testosterone-associated adverse cardiovascular events and a US Food and Drug Administration communication," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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