After a recently released study in the Journal of American Medical Association, many doctors—as well as the FDA—are reconsidering the possible dangers associated with testosterone drugs. The number of men taking testosterone drugs has quadrupled in the United States since 2000, and just last year, the sales of testosterone drugs surpassed those of Viagra. The FDA approved testosterone drugs for the treatment of medically diagnosed issues such as hypogonadism, endocrine tumors and for those undergoing chemotherapy, however due to aggressive marketing campaigns on the part of testosterone manufacturers, testosterone is now being pushed to every man who has experienced a lowered libido, a decrease in bone density, strength or muscle mass, or those with lowered levels of energy. These “symptoms” of Low-T were once known as the normal effects of aging. The JAMA study concluded that men taking testosterone drugs were nearly 30% more likely to suffer a stroke, heart attack or even death.
As men age, the walls of their arteries become thinner. Testosterone, which causes an increase in blood clotting, could lead to a higher number of strokes, deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary emboli among older men taking the drug. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein of the leg, typically in the calf or thigh. While those who develop DVT may experience no symptoms until the clot breaks away and turns into a pulmonary embolism, others may notice pain, swelling, redness, tenderness or warmth in the affected area. DVT is a medical emergency which kills over 3% of those who develop the condition. Because testosterone increases the incidence of blood clots, DVT may well result in men taking the drug.
Pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot blocks a major artery in the lungs. Symptoms of pulmonary embolism include sharp chest pain, a rapid heartbeat and coughing up blood. Dr. Charles Glueck published a study linking testosterone therapy to an increased risk of pulmonary embolism in October, 2011, in Translational Research. In this study blood clots occurred in as little as one month on testosterone therapy. If left untreated, 30% cases of pulmonary embolism are fatal. Those taking testosterone drugs should exercise caution, particularly in light of the latest study linking testosterone to heart attack, stroke and death. Doctors should conduct a risk vs. benefit assessment of their male patients prior to prescribing testosterone therapy. Men who feel they have been harmed by a testosterone drug should consider speaking to a knowledgeable testosterone injury attorney in order to ensure their rights and their future are protected.