Marketing campaigns have been popping up seemingly everywhere bringing attention to the problem of low testosterone and men’s health. While many men can develop a condition called hypogonadism and benefit greatly from testosterone therapy, the marketing effort on the part of many high profile pharmaceutical companies has extended beyond men suffering from hypogonadism to much of the aging male population.
Radio, television, magazines and billboards tout the benefits of testosterone drugs as treatment for such issues as low energy levels, weight gain, diminished sex drive and depression. As a result, there is now a $2 billion market for testosterone drugs with a potential for a $5 billion market by 2017. Booming sales of low testosterone drugs, however, may carry some serious consequences as studies and test data have indicated increased rates of heart attacks and strokes in men using testosterone drugs.
While studies done by pharmaceutical companies have not indicated risks of increased heart problems associated with low “t” or low testosterone drugs, studies and trials done without drug company funding have shown clear risks of adverse cardiovascular-related events.
- In 2010 a study by the New England Journal of Medicine was abruptly discontinued because of the risk of adverse cardiovascular events was “significantly higher” in the group of men taking testosterone drugs as compared to the placebo group.
- A 2013 study by the Journal of American Medical Association showed a nearly 30% increase in heart attacks and strokes in older men.
- In 2014 PLOS One medical journal indicated that men over 65 years old had two times the risk of heart attacks within 90 days of using testosterone gel. Men under 65 with a prior history of heart attack had about three times the risk of another heart attack within 90 days of using testosterone gel.
- Other studies indicate that testosterone drugs stimulate the growth of red blood cells resulting in a “thickening of the blood”, which can in turn make it more difficult for the heart to pump the blood. In men using testosterone drugs, there were measured increases in hematrocit and hemoglobin levels. High levels of hematrocit and hemoglobin are linked to increased risk of strokes and heart attacks.
As the result of these studies, the FDA has announced a new investigation into the side effects of testosterone products. Testosterone drugs may be in the form of a gel, a patch, an implant, an injection or a pill.
The brand names of testosterone replacement drugs include:
What Should Testosterone Users Do?
The results of these studies can be confusing and concerning. The best thing to do is to consult a doctor. Doctors should conduct medical tests before and during testosterone therapy. A doctor can determine if a patient suffers from low testosterone by measuring testosterone levels. Furthermore, a physician can determine safe levels of hemoglobin and hematrocit via blood tests.
Talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of using testosterone drugs. However, if you or someone you love has suffered a stroke or a heart attack and you believe it may be related to the use of testosterone drugs, you should immediately contact a Kentucky attorney for a free consultation about your potential lawsuit. Brett H. Oppenheimer is a Louisville lawyer who is currently reviewing potential lawsuits for people using testosterone replacement therapy.
Call Brett at (502) 242-8877.
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