Get the Facts on Testosterone Replacement Therapy
By Gary Donovitz, MD and Terri Suresh, RN, MSN, ACNP
BioTE® Medical Founder Dr. Gary Donovitz and National Spokesperson Terri Suresh recently challenged reports that are critical of testosterone replacement therapy. Media coverage reported that testosterone replacement therapy was over-prescribed by physicians, often unnecessary and in some cases dangerous for consumers.
Dr. Donovitz and Terri Suresh are leading providers of natural hormone replacement therapy using subcutaneous pellets. Critical of what he called a general lack of depth in research, Donovitz says, “We see significant flaws in the information that’s being presented to the public. Studies based solely on pharmaceutical products are being applied to all testosterone therapy. As a result, credible research which is essential to a full understanding of testosterone therapy has not been considered.”
The Wall Street Journal on November 6, 2013 published an article that was critical of testosterone replacement therapy. The publication cited a research study of veterans, which claimed that testosterone therapy raised the risk of heart attack and stroke by about 30%. Because the focus of the study was limited to pharmaceutical products, the research and its conclusions are flawed and incomplete.
Dr. Donovitz states, “The study referenced in The Wall Street Journal article is limited to the gels, patches and shots which are being heavily promoted on television and radio. These pharmaceutical products use synthetic hormones and we’ve known about the dangers of synthetics for years. However, to be accurate and complete, any study of testosterone therapy needs to also include data for natural hormone replacement. “
In addition to calling The Wall Street Journal research incomplete, Dr. Donovitz said that the study had other issues that impacted its integrity. Many of the 23,173 veterans that were excluded from the study would have benefitted from proper testosterone optimization using natural hormone replacement. There is also concern that the sample, which consisted of elderly men, was skewed because of a high incidence of conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol levels. Another anomaly of the study, was the fact that of the 1223 patients prescribed testosterone gels, patches and creams, only 20% filled one prescription.
Donovitz added, “The level of patient monitoring and care after the procedure was not sufficient. Only 60% of the patients administered testosterone had follow up laboratory assessments of their serum testosterone. You cannot expect results without optimization and that requires laboratory assessment.”
There are years of research and studies that support natural hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Natural testosterone and estrogen replacement therapy via pellet implants, around since the 1930’s and the most widely studied form of natural HRT, has shown no increased risk of blood clots, heart attacks or strokes. In fact, multiple studies show that bio-identical hormone replacement therapy is protective to the prostate, the heart, bones, joints and the brain. The benefits to the patients, both men and women, allows for healthier lives as people age and they require less drugs for disease management.
It is vital that providers and advocates of natural therapies such as bio- identical hormones commit to educating the public on how to read through flawed media reports. A challenge facing leaders in the wellness industry is the constant battle with big Pharma, the FDA, lawyers seeing opportunity, all for financial gain and not considering the facts or the best interest of the patients. Dr. Donovitz said that he’s reaching out to The Wall Street Journal and other media outlets to urge journalists to understand the truth relative to hormone therapy.
He added, “We understand and appreciate the role that The Wall Street Journal and the media community play in the area of consumer advocacy. We are supplying them with information that will deepen and complete their understanding of hormone replacement therapy. This information will give them the ability to present thorough, objective and accurate information to their readers and viewers.”