Testosterone Prescribing Declining in the US

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From 2013 to 2016, the relative decrease in testosterone prescriptions was 48% among established testosterone users and 62% among new users.
From 2013 to 2016, the relative decrease in testosterone prescriptions was 48% among established testosterone users and 62% among new users.

Testosterone prescribing in the United States declined from 2013 through 2016, according to a new report.

An examination of records of 9,962,538 men aged 30 years and older from 2002 through 2016 showed that total testosterone use increased from 0.52% in 2002 to 3.2% in 2013, then decreased to 1.67% in 2016, Jacques Baillargeon, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston reported in JAMA (2018;320:200-203).

Among new users of testosterone (no use in the prior year), the rate rose from 0.28% in 2002 to 1.26% in 2013, then decreased to 0.48% in 2016. The decline in new testosterone users occurred in all age groups.

The relative decrease from 2013 to 2016 was 48% among established testosterone users and 62% among new users.

The steepest decrease in the proportion of men receiving testosterone prescriptions coincided with 2 published reports of testosterone-associated adverse cardiovascular events  (JAMA. 2013;310:1829-1836 and PLoS One. 2014;9:e85805) and an FDA safety bulletin, according to the researchers.

For the study, Dr Baillargeon's team used data from Clinformatics Data Mart, one of the nation's largest commercial health insurance databases.

With regard to study limitations, the authors noted they could not ascertain the indications for testosterone use and the reasons for the decrease in testosterone prescriptions. They also pointed out that men may obtain testosterone from clinicians not reimbursed by their insurance.

Reference

Baillargeon J, Kuo YF, Westra JR, et al. Testosterone prescribing in the United States, 2002-2016. JAMA. 2018;320:200-203.

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