Testosterone abuse is associated with serious safety risks in the heart, liver, brain, mental health, and endocrine system. The risk increases with higher doses or the use of steroids. According to the FDA:
Reported serious adverse outcomes include heart attack, heart failure, stroke, depression, hostility, aggression, liver toxicity, and male infertility.”
The FDA also warned about withdrawal symptoms like depression, fatigue, irritability, loss of appetite, decreased libido, and insomnia.
The problem is that testosterone replacement therapy shuts down the natural production of testosterone in the body. Men who suddenly stop using testosterone risk going into withdrawal. It is a powerful motivation to refill their prescriptions and a risk-factor for abuse and dependence.
Testosterone and anabolic steroids are commonly abused by athletes and bodybuilders. But in the last decade, the number of testosterone prescriptions to middle-aged men with “Low T” has skyrocketed.
Drug-makers launched an ad campaign for “Low T,” a non-existent syndrome with common age-related symptoms like fatigue, depression, weight-gain, sagging muscles, and sexual dysfunction.
Prescriptions for testosterone jumped 75% to 2.3 million between 2009 and 2013, but only one in four men actually had a blood test to check testosterone levels. The rest presumably got a prescription based on symptoms alone, according to researchers.
Last year, the FDA warned about the risk of heart attack and stroke and asked men not to use testosterone for age-related symptoms. Testosterone is only approved for men with hypogonadism.