Yahoo recently reported that millions of men may be risking a heart attack, stroke or even premature death by taking testosterone therapy they don’t actually need according to new research.
Based on two large new studies linking approved prescription testosterone therapy to increased risk for cardiovascular events, the FDA has launched an investigation and cautions medical provides to carefully weigh if the benefits exceed the potential harms before prescribing these drugs, which are only advised for men who have low T and an associated medical condition.
In the latest study, researchers report that within 90 days, taking the hormone can more than double heart attack risk in men ages 65 and up—as well as nearly triple risk in younger men with known heart disease.
A November 2013 study published in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported a 30 percent rise in risk for stroke, heart attack, and death in men age 60 and older who had been prescribed testosterone, compared to those who not.
Millions of Men at Potential Risk for Fatal Harm
“I’m very concerned that widespread use of testosterone supplements without any long-term safety studies is putting millions of men at risk for the most common lethal condition in the United States: heart disease,”says Steven Nissen, MD, department chair of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic.
“The FDA needs to require makers of these drugs to do long-term studies of these drugs, which are being marketed to men as a fountain of youth, just as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was to women 20 years ago,”adds Dr. Nissen.
“When HRT was finally studied, it turned out to increase women’s risk for heart attack and stroke, and now the PLOS ONE study suggests that testosterone may have similar dangers for men,” says Dr. Nissen.
Unnecessary 'Low T' Therapy
Treatments for low testosterone are now an estimated $2 billion-a-year industry in the US—with up to 25 percent of prescriptions written without medical providers bothering to do a blood test to check the man’s hormonal levels, according to the New York Times.
“Assuming that ‘low T’ is a huge global issue for all older men and prescribing the hormone without checking the man’s testosterone levels and cardiovascular risk is a scary—and highly irresponsible—practice,” says Amy Doneen, ARNP, medical director of the Heart Attack & Stroke Prevention Center in Spokane, Washington.
“Direct-to-consumer ads make it seem that if a man is tired and doesn’t have the libido he did at age 20, maybe the problem is ‘low T’,”reports Dr. Nissen, who feels that this problem may be greatly over-diagnosed.“The message men get is that these supplements are the fountain of youth they need, which is very seductive to men, but there isn’t much research to support these purported benefits.”
“What these well-done studies are telling us is that this treatment needs to be used cautiously in men who actually need it, after a careful, individualized assessment of both their symptoms and their cardiovascular health,” adds Doneen.
Currently, testosterone therapies, which have been FDA-approved for decades, don’t carry any cardiovascular warnings. The FDA is now investigating the link with heart attack, stroke, and early death identified in the new research.
If you or a loved one have suffered a stroke, heart attack or blood clot while using a testosterone medication, like AndroGel, please call our office at (888) 606-5297 for a free consultation regarding your potential AndroGel lawsuit.