Male hormone supplements, a popular treatment for many people with low testosterone, are now being banned in Australia due to a “lack of scientific evidence”.
The announcement was made by Health Minister Andrew Barr on Monday, as he announced a range of new guidelines to make male hormones more readily available.
“We need to take a step back and say this is not the case,” Mr Barr said.
Male hormone treatments have been available since the 1960s but until now, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) had not yet reviewed the evidence. “
What we are proposing is to take this advice, put it through a scientific review, make sure we have a scientific rationale for the guidelines and make sure they are safe for people.”
Male hormone treatments have been available since the 1960s but until now, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) had not yet reviewed the evidence.
The NHMRC said the guidelines could affect “any person or any organisation that uses male hormone treatments”.
“In Australia, we have seen the evidence that there is a benefit in the treatment of low testosterone and we have had an excellent response to that,” Dr Peter Smith, a GP, told the ABC.
“It has been the best evidence-based approach that we have been able to come up with.”
The guidelines, which come into effect on August 1, are aimed at giving men with low T levels an alternative option to male hormones, which can cause side effects such as weight gain and mood swings.
Male hormones can cause unwanted weight gain, a reduction in muscle mass and the development of erectile dysfunction.
The New South Wales Health Department is currently investigating whether testosterone supplements are “inherently safe”.
But some researchers say the NHMCC has not yet acted properly in its review.
Dr James Crampton, a medical oncologist at the University of New South England in Sydney, said the NHCRC had not done an adequate scientific review of male hormone supplements.
“There’s a lot of information that comes from the industry,” Dr Cramton said.
Dr Clampton said the new guidelines would give men who are taking testosterone supplements with no obvious side effects the option of using a different supplement to lower T levels.
“If you want to get low T, you’ll need to do that with a different hormone,” he said.
Male hormone therapies include a range, from the natural testosterone creams to synthetic testosterone which can be bought online.
The new guidelines also state that men with “no obvious symptoms of hypogonadism” should not be prescribed testosterone.
Mr Barr told reporters that the new recommendations “cannot be implemented without scientific evidence” and added that the NHmRC would look into the matter.
The NSW Health Department said it was aware of the new advice and had not received any complaints about the new supplements.