Today, everyone seems to be obsessed with looking and feeling younger! If you turn on the television, chances are you will see an advertisement for creams, pills, lotions, vitamins, or hormones, among other things, promising youthful vigor. There is so much marketing to promote testosterone replacement drugs for men promising to increase “energy and libido,” suggesting that testosterone will help fight “Low T” or “Low Testosterone.”
More recently, though, the testosterone commercials are from lawyers talking about testosterone replacement lawsuits. That is due to current research reporting the increased rate of heart attacks associated with testosterone replacement drugs.
Some effective brands of testosterone advertised are AndroGel, Androderm Testim and Axiron. Sales of these drugs in 2012 alone were nearly $2 billion. It is reported that more than 5.3 million prescriptions were written for these drugs in 2011 (up to 25 percent of prescriptions were written without medical providers bothering to do a blood test to check the hormonal levels, according to the New York Times). Presently, about 4 percent of men over the age of 60 are taking a testosterone booster. Men cite the fact that these drugs are effective in treating bone density issues and muscle mass deficiency, as well as being effective with sexual performance. Would these men continue to use them if they were aware of the link to heart attacks?
In the latest study published in the journal PLOS ONE, funded by the National Institutes of Health, researchers reported that within 90 days, taking the hormone can more than double the risk of heart attack in men ages 65 and older, as well as nearly triple the risk in younger men with known heart disease.
A November 2013 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported a 30 percent rise in the risk of stroke, heart attack and death in men ages 60 and older prescribed testosterone, compared to those who were not.
For every 1,000 men over age 65 who take testosterone replacement drugs, up to 11.52 may suffer a heart attack, compared with only 5.27 of 1,000 men over age 65 who do not take testosterone supplements. For men who had pre-existing cardiac issues, the risk of heart attack increases two to three-fold when testosterone medication is used.
Some researchers have long suspected a link between testosterone treatment and risk of heart attack and believe that certain mechanisms in testosterone therapy medications may trigger an increase in this risk. In fact, previous studies have shown that hormone replacement therapy in women increased their risk for heart attack, stroke and breast cancer.
These new findings have confirmed the suspicions of many doctors. Further testing is needed before any conclusive warnings can be established.
Chief of Cardiovascular Medicine at Cleveland Clinic, Steve Nissen, says, “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.”
“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 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 Nissen. He suggests that the FDA require all companies selling testosterone therapy to conduct studies examining all of the potential risks. But until this happens, anyone considering testosterone treatment should be cognizant of any changes that their body may be going through and to seek immediate medical attention when necessary.
Doctors who write prescriptions for testosterone should advise their patients about the possible risks of heart attack. We all want to look and feel young, but a heart attack and/or death is too high a price to pay.
If you or a loved one has suffered a cardiac reaction after taking testosterone supplements, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).