Feb. 13 (UPI) -- A new study from Boston University Medical Center has found that long-term therapy to treat low testosterone in men may also lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Testosterone is the male sex hormone responsible for the development of male reproductive tissues, sex drive and sex-specific characteristics like increased muscle mass and body hair growth. Testosterone also contributes to overall health and can prevent bone loss or osteoporosis.
Men with testosterone deficiency, also known as hypogonadism, are often treated with testosterone therapy.
Researchers at the Boston University schools of Medicine and Public Health created a registry to examine the long-term effectiveness and safety of testosterone therapy, or TTH, in men.
The study followed 656 men age 60 and older with low testosterone for eight years, with 360 men receiving testosterone therapy and 296 not receiving testosterone therapy.
Results showed there were only two deaths in the group that received treatment and the deaths were not cardiovascular related. There were 21 deaths in the non-treatment control group, and 19 were cardiovascular-related deaths. In the non-treatment control group, there were 26 non-fatal mycardial infarctions and 30 non-fatal strokes, but none in the treatment group.
"The low CV [cardiovascular] events observed in the T-group compared to the untreated [control] group strongly suggests that TTH is protective," Abdulmaged M. Traish, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry and urology at BUSM and corresponding author of the study, said in a press release. "We believe that the protective effect of T on the CV system provides clinicians with the opportunity to utilize this approach for secondary prevention for hypogonadal men with a history of CV events."
The study was published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Therapeutics.