HealthDay News — According to a study published in JAMA, regional exposure to televised direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) is associated with an increase in testosterone testing and new initiation.

J Bradley Layton, PhD, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues examined the correlations between televised DTCA and testosterone testing and initiation in an ecologic study conducted in designated market areas (DMAs) in the United States. 

They linked monthly testosterone advertising ratings to DMA-level testosterone use data derived from commercial insurance claims (2009 to 2013). Overall, 1,007,990 of the 17,228,599 commercially insured men in the 75 DMAs had new serum testosterone tests and 283,317 initiated testosterone treatment. 

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The researchers found that there was variation in the intensity of advertising based on geographic region and time. 

For each household advertisement exposure, there was a monthly increase in the rates of new testosterone testing, initiation, and initiation without a recent test (rate ratios, 1.006, 1.007, and 1.008, respectively).

Over the entire period, the mean absolute increases were 0.14 tests, 0.05 new initiations, and 0.02 new initiations without a recent test per 10,000 men for each monthly advertisement exposure.

“Among US men residing in the 75 designated market areas, regional exposure to televised direct-to-consumer advertising was associated with greater testosterone testing, new initiation, and initiation without recent testing,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to a mobile start-up to improve patient pain management and to QuintilesIMS Health.


Layton JB, et al. “Association Between Direct-to-Consumer Advertising and Testosterone Testing and Initiation in the United States, 2009-2013.” JAMA. 2017;317(11):1159-1166. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.21041

Kravitz RL. “Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Androgen Replacement Therapy.” JAMA. 2017;317(11):1124-1125. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.1364

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