Patterns of testosterone prescription overuse

Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2017 Jun;24(3):240-245. doi: 10.1097/MED.0000000000000336.


Purpose of review: There has been an increase in the prescribing of testosterone therapy in the past decade. There is concern that at least part of this increase is driven by advertising rather than sound medical practice. The purpose of this review is to summarize the recent trends in testosterone prescribing, and to examine whether testosterone is being appropriately prescribed as per guidelines.

Recent findings: Both global and U.S. data reflect an overall increase in the use of testosterone in the last decade, although there are early signs of a decline in testosterone sales since 2014. This increased prescribing has been accompanied with an overall increase in testing for testosterone levels, prescription of testosterone without the appropriate diagnostic evaluation recommended by clinical practice guidelines, and apparent use of this therapy for unproven medical conditions.

Summary: Research to date suggests that there is room to improve our prescribing of testosterone. Greater understanding of the potential provider-level and system-level factors that contribute to the current prescribing practices may help accomplish such improvement.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Advertising
  • Communications Media
  • Humans
  • Hypogonadism / blood
  • Hypogonadism / drug therapy
  • Hypogonadism / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic / standards
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / standards
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / trends*
  • Prescription Drug Overuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prescription Drug Overuse / trends*
  • Testosterone / therapeutic use*


  • Testosterone