Testosterone scripts plummet following PBS changes

A clampdown on GP prescribing of testosterone initiated by the government last year has slashed the number of scripts for the hormone in half, new figures show.

The measures were introduced in April last year following a PBS review which raised concerns that GPs were overprescribing testosterone.

Under the new PBS criteria GPs can prescribe testosterone after a consultation with a specialist and only for men with a serum testosterone level of 6nmol/L, down from a level of less than 8nmol/L.

According to an  analysis of prescription figures , which were commissioned by Besins Healthcare who make Testogel, the curbs on testosterone prescribing have resulted in a drop from an average of 789 per month prior to April 2015 to 341 per month in the period from April-December 2015.

The authors conclude that the PBS restrictions were “unnecessary” and had led to a “growing under-treatment” because of long waits and costs associated with seeing a specialist, an unnecessarily restrictive testosterone threshold, and the cost of private prescriptions.

However, as reported previously on the limbic, the Endocrine Society of Australia has released new guidelines which stress that pathological hypogonadism should be regarded as a clinical diagnosis to be confirmed by hormone assays, rather than the other way around.

A second part to the guidelines also advised that effective testosterone therapy in men with pathological hypogonadism should target the leading symptom of deficiency, but should be used with caution in those with cardiovascular disease.

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