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testosterone contraindications - when not to use testosterone supplements

by Chris Steidle, MD

Contraindications to testosterone supplements exist: testosterone treatment is not for every man. Certain conditions may be negatively affected by raising the testosterone level with supplements.

A contraindication is a condition for which specific treatments are inadvisable. In the case of supplemental testosterone, there are some circumstances where increasing a man's testosterone level might not be the best thing to do:

  • Suspected or diagnosed prostate cancer (PSA is elevated)
  • Male breast cancer
  • Obstructive sleep apnea, unless treated before testosterone therapy

Conditions affected by testosterone therapy

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Some other conditions may be affected by your use of testosterone supplements. You should be sure to make your doctor aware that you have any of the following:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Liver or kidney disease

Drug interactions with testosterone

Testosterone may interfere with the action of certain drugs. Be sure to tell your doctor that you take any of the following:

  • Warfarin (Coumadin) for thinning blood
  • Insulin or any oral drugs for diabetes
  • Propranolol (Inderal)
  • Oxyphenbutazone
  • Imipramine
  • Any kind of corticosteroid drug
  • Some herbal products

Please make a list of all prescription, over the counter and herbal products you currently take and give it to your doctor at your first appointment. This may be an important but simple step that you can take to prevent serious problems from supplemental testosterone.

References

Brawer, Michael K., MD. Androgen Supplementation and Prostate Cancer Risk: Strategies for Pretherapy Assessment and Monitoring. Rev.Urol. 2003;5 (suppl 1):S29-S33.

Caruthers, Malcolm, MD. The Testosterone Revolution. London: Thorsons; 2001

Heaton, Jeremy, P.W., MD. Hormone Treatments and Preventive Strategies in the Aging Male: Whom and When to Treat? Rev.Urol. 2003;5(suppl 1):S16-S21.

Matsumoto, Alvin M., MD. Fundamental Aspects of Hypogonadism in the Aging Male. Rev.Urol. 2003;5(suppl 1):S3-S10.

McCulloch, Andrew, MD. Case Scenarios in Androgen Deficiency. Rev.Urol. 2003;5(suppl 1):S41-S48.

Nieschlag, E., Behre, H.M., Nieschlag, S. Testosterone: Action, Deficiency, Substitution. Berlin: 1998.

Steidle, Christopher P., MD. New Advances in the Treatment of Hypogonadism in the Aging Male. Rev.Urol. 2003;5(suppl 1):S34-S40.

Notes

1. Matsumoto, Alvin M. Fundamental Aspects of Hypogonadism in the Aging Male. Urology. Vol. 5, Supplement 1. 2003;S3-10.

2. Morley, JE. J Gend Specif Med. 2001;4:49-53.

Posted February 2004
Updated August 2009

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