Food and Drug Administration about the potential hazards of using testosterone supplements in older men, another group of experts is raising concerns about the popular treatments. In a statement, specialists in hormonal therapy at the Endocrine Society said the risks and benefits of testosterone supplements for older men with age-related declines in testosterone levels must be investigated more carefully. Older men considering such regimens should be warned about the possible risks, particularly heart-related events such as heart attack and stroke, the group said. The Endocrine Society issued the warning after three recent studies revealed testosterone may not be safe for older men with a history of heart disease. The studies found these men had more heart-related events than men not on testosterone therapy . For example, in one study published recently in the journal PLoS One, an increased risk of heart attack was found in men younger than 65 with a history of heart disease , and in older men even if they didn’t have a history of the disease. Testosterone therapy has been widely advertised as a way to help aging men improve low sex drive and reclaim diminished energy, and use of the supplements is on the increase. Although the FDA approved testosterone therapy for the treatment of diseases involving the testes, pituitary and hypothalamus, it has not been approved for treating age-related declines in testosterone levels. Earlier this month, the FDA announced it is “investigating the risk of stroke, heart attack and death in men taking FDA-approved testosterone products,” based on the recent studies. The U.S. National Institute on Aging is also expected to release the results of research on the safety of testosterone. The study involved roughly 800 older men with low testosterone and symptoms associated with this condition, such as sexual and physical dysfunction. Since the men’s heart health was carefully monitored, the research is expected to shed more light on the safety of testosterone therapy. The Endocrine Society added that more large, randomized controlled studies are needed to investigate the risks and benefits of the treatment for older men. Meanwhile, the group advised that middle-aged and older men who are thinking about using testosterone therapy to treat age-related declines in this hormone should be warned about the possibility of heart-related side effects. The group said it is especially important for men who’ve had a heart attack, stroke or other heart-related event in the past six months to avoid testosterone therapy.
B.C. medical specialists struggle to find work
In B.C., the number of unemployed specialists was slightly higher than the national average at 16.5 per cent. The findings are counter-intuitive, given patient complaints about accessing timely care and surgery. aNever in my medical career have I even heard of unemployed doctors, until now, so this comes as a real surprise,a said Dr. William Cunningham, president of the B.C. Medical Association. Cunningham has been practising medicine since 1986 and works in a hospital emergency department on Vancouver Island. The report doesnat address the issue of whether there are too many specialists for the Canadian health care system, in which operating room time and budgets are fixed. But it makes it clear that doctors are competing for resources, including operating rooms, hospital beds and money to pay their fees. The report also pinpoints reasons why newly certified specialists are having trouble finding work: older doctors are delaying retirement; established surgeons are protecting their precious (often only one day a week) operating room time so young doctors arenat getting the hospital/surgical positions they covet; and a lack of cohesion in medical resource planning and coordination between medical schools, governments and hospital or health care authorities. As well, there are relatively new categories of health professionals encroaching on doctorsa territory, such as advanced practice nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Respondents to the survey were graduates of Canadaas 17 medical schools and/or Canadian residency training programs in fields such as cardiac surgery, neurosurgery, nuclear medicine, ophthalmology, radiation oncology, urology, critical care, gastroenterology, general surgery, hematology and medical microbiology. The report does not include data on family doctors. While about one in five specialists or subspecialists said they are having challenges finding jobs, another 22 per cent of newly certified specialists said they are taking locum positions or other various part-time positions. Locums assume another doctoras duties during holidays or extended absences. In the survey, 40 per cent said they werenat happy they had to do that. The report draws attention to the fact that more than half of the respondents said they hadnat received any career counselling about the most promising job prospects while doing their training.