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New Studies Highlight Caution for Consumers on Potentially Misleading Promotions of Products and Services

CHICAGO, May 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Today's consumer is faced with an abundance of information and advertising that promotes a wide range of treatments, medicines and alternative therapies. This information is not always easily navigable by patients and, in some cases, may be misleading. Three new studies being shared at the 2019 AUA Annual Meeting highlight the need for today's patient to vigilant. These studies will be presented to media during a special session, moderated by Dr. Stacy Loeb, on Sunday, May 5, 2019 at 10 a.m. Dr. Loeb is an Assistant Professor of Urology and Population Health at New York University and the Manhattan Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

American Urological Association (PRNewsFoto/American Urological Association)

Abstracts presented include:

Publication # PD34-12
"Testosterone Boosting" Supplements Composition and Claims are not Supported by the Academic Literature

Over-the-counter supplements purporting to raise testosterone levels may be more than meets the eye, according to this study that evaluated 50 different supplements on the market. Researchers reviewed each of the products' claims, as well as active ingredients (components), and then examined the recommended daily allowance (RDA) and upper tolerable intake level for each of the ingredients, and reviewed PubMed for literature to support the claims. The upper tolerable intake level is the maximum daily intake level at which no risk of adverse effects is expected.

Key findings include:

  • Across the supplements, 111 active ingredients were identified, with each product containing an average of seven active ingredients.
  • Prospective data was available for four of the components: fenugreek, shilajit, D-aspartic acid and vitamin D, with only fenugreek and shilajit showing a positive effect on testosterone levels.
  • Of the remaining components, four had non-prospective human data showing a positive effect on testosterone and six had animal data showing a positive effect.
  • In some cases, supplements contained levels of vitamins and minerals above the maximum RDA, occasionally above the upper tolerable intake level.

Publication # MP72-02
Exposure To Cyberknife Advertising Is Associated With Over-Estimation Of Objective Benefits Compared With Other Prostate Cancer Treatments

There is limited evidence comparing the use of stereotactic radiotherapy (such as Cyberknife) to other prostate cancer treatment options. Advertising of Cyberknife for prostate cancer may be misleading for patients, resulting in an overestimation of therapeutic benefits. In this study, researchers evaluated layperson impressions of this popular stereotactic radiosurgery when exposed to advertisements compared to factual information/controls. This survey of 400 men aged 40-80 demonstrated that patients exposed to advertisements had a more positive impression of Cyberknife than the control group.

Key findings include:

  • After reviewing either advertisements (with or without disclaimers) or scientific information, respondents indicated they would choose Cyberknife over other prostate cancer treatments, with a greater increase seen in participants who viewed advertisements (with our without disclaimers).
  • Respondents in the advertising groups were more likely consider Cyberknife to be superior compared to other treatments.
  • Respondents who viewed scientific information were less likely to rate Cyberknife as superior to alternative treatments relative to the side effects of erectile dysfunction and incontinence.

Publication # MP12-18
Buyer Beware: Evidence-Based Evaluation of Dietary Supplements for Nephrolithiasis

A growing number of supplements that claim to reduce -- or even prevent – the formation of kidney stones are available to patients without a prescription, but the majority contain ingredients with conflicting or no scientific evidence to support these claims. Researchers in Baltimore examined 27 commercially available supplements that claimed to dissolve stones, prevent stone formation, reduce stone symptoms and support overall kidney health, and reviewed the available medical literature on the efficacy of active ingredients included in each.

Key findings include:

  • The 27 supplements reviewed included 56 non-pharmacologic active ingredients, with only nine having published studies about their use in treating stone disease.
  • Only 18 studies about the ingredients were identified, of which six showed mixed or no benefit for stone disease.
  • 12 studies supported use of ingredients in stone formers, but only five of the studies were human studies.
  • Among the 27 supplements, 67 percent contained ingredients with conflicting, refuting or absent evidence of benefit in stone disease.

"Today's marketplace is filled with a plethora of information about treatments and services and it can be hard for patients to ascertain what is supported by science and what is not," said Dr. Loeb. "It's more important than ever to talk to your doctor about what supplements you're taking, as well as discuss the ads you may be seeing that promise 'the next big thing.' If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

About the American Urological Association: Founded in 1902 and headquartered near Baltimore, Maryland, the American Urological Association is a leading advocate for the specialty of urology, and has more than 22,000 members throughout the world. The AUA is a premier urologic association, providing invaluable support to the urologic community as it pursues its mission of fostering the highest standards of urologic care through education, research and the formulation of health policy.


Wendy Isett, AUA

443-845-4031, wisett@AUAnet.org

SOURCE American Urological Association