Testosterone: A direct-to-consumer case study

A US study has shown how direct-to-consumer advertising can boost the use of a treatment.

It shows a “substantial overall increase” in testosterone prescribing rates from 2009 to 2013 as a result of television advertising.

About 283,000 new prescriptions were reported in the period.

But while the increase may have been a commercial success, it was not necessarily good for patients, given the uncertain risk–benefit profile of testosterone, say the researchers.

They also note that direct-to-consumer advertising was associated with more initiation of testosterone without recent serum testosterone testing.

This suggests doctors were complying with consumer requests, contrary to treatment guidelines.

“Ultimately, prescribing decisions rest with physicians, but patient preferences and requests for specific medications influence prescribing decisions, and direct to