Testosterone under attack in Australia. The last person you would ask for this advice is an endocrinologist!

On April 1, Australia put into place new restrictions on who can write prescriptions for testosterone. The government also lowered the level of normal from 8 to 6 nmol/L with absolutely NO scientific basis for doing so.  Here is an excerpt from my book ‘Chasing Antelopes.’

Australia’s idiocy when it comes to helping males!

‘When indicated, testosterone treatment is both essential and safe in elderly patients with symptomatic late onset hypogonadism, or testosterone deficiency,’ said study lead author Aksam A. Yassin, M.D., Ph.D., Ed.D., chairman of the Institute of Urology & Andrology in Norderstedt-Hamburg, Germany.

In other studies, investigators found that the prevalence of metabolic syndrome dropped from 56 to 30 percent after 57 months of treatment with testosterone-replacement medication to regulate hormone levels. In addition, triglycerides, blood sugar levels and blood pressure decreased, while the average waist circumference shrank by 11 centimeters. Yet few endocrinologists and fewer family practitioners know this and will keep on insisting that testosterone is both dangerous and cancer causing, all without any evidence for making these claims. To make matters worse, the regulatory bodies mostly get their advice from ‘experts’ who know virtually nothing about these hormones. Indeed, in not one training program that creates family practitioners or specialists in the USA or Australia is there one single week in a two to four year program given to treating male hormone deficiency syndromes. Not one discusses the use of growth hormone and how to use it, despite its extraordinary medical benefits.

In other words, there is no program anywhere in which our doctors, who have strong opinions and final control over how or even whether to use these hormones, have any training or education into how to use them.  A perfect example of this ignorance surfaced in March, 2015, when the Australian government announced that GPs would be further restricted in prescribing these hormones, beginning April 1. The magazine MJA InSight wrote this ‘tougher prescribing criteria for testosterone are a step in the right direction to address the massive growth in prescriptions for age-related testosterone decline, say experts ahead of the 1 April changes. Brisbane GP Dr Justin Coleman said the more stringent Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) criteria were necessary to curb the ‘dangerously fast’ increase in testosterone prescribing in Australia, which was unsustainable and probably harmful.

Under the changes, GPs will have to consult with a specialist pediatric endocrinologist, urologist, endocrinologist or registered member of the Australasian Chapter of Sexual Health Medicine before they can prescribe testosterone for a patient.’

First, there is no credible evidence that there is a ‘dangerously fast’ increase in prescribing testosterone. Neither Dr Coleman, nor most members of any of the specialist groups who have authority over the prescriptions of testosterone have significant knowledge or training in its use, yet a whole swathe of the population will be further denied ready access to a normally occurring hormone.  In a further display of ignorance, Dr Coleman told MJA InSight: ‘There’s little doubt that in Australia at the moment, there are at least some men getting testosterone that they don’t need, and for them it is causing more harm than good.’ All based on no reliable data whatsoever.

An example of this hormone illiteracy in supposed experts is seen here: ‘In an editorial published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society last week, Dr Thomas Perls of the Boston Medical Center and Australia’s Professor David Handelsman, applauded the FDA’s moves to address ‘disease mongering’ of age-related declines in testosterone.

Professor Handelsman, director of the ANZAC Research Institute, told MJA InSight that an overflow effect from international direct-to-consumer advertising and lax US and European prescribing guidelines had fuelled an accelerating increase in testosterone prescribing in Australia in the past two decades, as he had outlined previously in the MJA.

Professor Handelsman, who is also professor of reproductive endocrinology and andrology at the University of Sydney, said although the increase in testosterone prescribing rates in Australia were not as extreme as in the US, Canada or most of the 41 countries analyzed in his MJA research, Australia had paralleled the rapidly increasing North American prescribing trends.’

How amazing is this? Trying to achieve an optimal testosterone environment in the aging male, to prevent body-wide deterioration is now ‘disease mongering.’  MJA InSight, March, 2015.

This is effectively saying that men can slowly decline in health because trying to arrest this would be unnecessary interference. Contrast this to the attitudes toward hormone replacement in women.

In order to make testosterone even less available, the government in Australia lowered the threshold serum testosterone level from 8 nmol/L to 6 nmol/L.  This means that a man is considered to have ‘normal’ testosterone levels, in Australia, if his testosterone is just a little over twice that of a woman. This is a perfect example of the abuse of ‘normal’ ranges in order to justify idiotic medical practice.  This is clearly evidenced by the Australian government’s approval of a new range of ‘normal’ for testosterone values in men. This range does not define the many men who are crippled by suboptimal testosterone levels and which prevents them from being happy and functional males.

It might have occurred to these ‘experts’ that the reason for the increase in testosterone requests in all the countries they studied is because men have come to realize how important it is to have optimal levels for their wellbeing.  Rather than being horrified at the increased rates of hormone prescribing, these experts should be applauding the fact that men are taking an intense interest in their health: something that has been notably lacking in the past.