Testosterone Replacement Therapy and Cardiovascular Risk: A Review

World J Mens Health. 2015 Dec;33(3):130-42. doi: 10.5534/wjmh.2015.33.3.130. Epub 2015 Dec 23.


Recent reports in the scientific and lay press have suggested that testosterone (T) replacement therapy (TRT) is likely to increase cardiovascular (CV) risk. In a final report released in 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cautioned that prescribing T products is approved only for men who have low T levels due to primary or secondary hypogonadism resulting from problems within the testis, pituitary, or hypothalamus (e.g., genetic problems or damage from surgery, chemotherapy, or infection). In this report, the FDA emphasized that the benefits and safety of T medications have not been established for the treatment of low T levels due to aging, even if a man's symptoms seem to be related to low T. In this paper, we reviewed the available evidence on the association between TRT and CV risk. In particular, data from randomized controlled studies and information derived from observational and pharmacoepidemiological investigations were scrutinized. The data meta-analyzed here do not support any causal role between TRT and adverse CV events. This is especially true when hypogonadism is properly diagnosed and replacement therapy is correctly performed. Elevated hematocrit represents the most common adverse event related to TRT. Hence, it is important to monitor hematocrit at regular intervals in T-treated subjects in order to avoid potentially serious adverse events.

Keywords: Hematocrit; Mortality; Myocardial infarction; Testosterone.

Publication types

  • Review