Many patients may assume that testosterone supplements are safe, since testosterone is naturally present in the body. However, some men who have been prescribed testosterone supplements to treat low testosterone (low-T) soon discovered the dangers of this “safe” medication included potentially life-threatening conditions, including heart attacks and strokes.
Testosterone Medications Can Cause Blood Clots and Heart Problems
For many American men, low testosterone became the least worrying of their health issues. Several independent studies linked testosterone therapy to heart risks and other ill health effects, claiming that men taking prescription testosterone were overwhelmingly likely to suffer:
- Heart attacks. A 2014 study of 55,000 men taking prescription testosterone found that 1 in 167 men over age 65 could suffer a heart attack, and 1 in 100 men under age 65 who had a history of heart disease were at risk of a serious cardiac event. The incidence of heart attacks increased in the first 90 days of beginning testosterone therapy.
- Congestive heart failure. Researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine discovered an increased risk of chronic cardiac problems in men taking testosterone, with the risk significantly higher for older patients. Patients were notably at five times the risk of developing congestive heart failure, which places pressure on the heart due to weight gain and edema.
- Strokes. Men taking testosterone drugs have suffered up to 30 percent increased risk of strokes and transient ischemic attacks (TIA), commonly called mini-strokes. A mini-stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is briefly interrupted, and many people who suffer these attacks experience a full stroke within a year. Researchers believe that these strokes occur because testosterone therapy drugs cause blood cells to become larger, increase hemoglobin production (polycythemia), and thicken the blood—all of which increases the risk of a blood clot. In 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to doctors and patients calling attention to the risks of clotting and strokes when taking testosterone.
- Prostate cancer. Early studies have indicated that testosterone therapy may increase the risk of prostate cancer in some patients. Increased testosterone is often an indicator of prostate cancer, and the relationship between the two conditions may be intertwined. One study involving men who were taking testosterone replacement therapy for sexual dysfunction discovered several patients had been diagnosed with prostate cancer within two years of beginning treatment with testosterone.
- Sleep apnea. Increased testosterone levels have also been known to worsen the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a condition where sleeping patients stop breathing. The interrupted air flow to a patient’s brain can happen several times a night, and has been known to cause strokes, abnormal heart rhythms, and insufficient blood flow to the heart.
- Hormonal imbalance. Even if a patient does not suffer a cardiac event or cancer diagnosis, there are still more potentially permanent risks. Fluctuations in hormone levels can cause a number of changes throughout the body, including male breast tissue enlargement, acne, oily or irritated skin, and changes in hair patterns and growth. Testosterone therapy may also cause the testicles to shrink and increase the likelihood of infertility.
Get the Compensation You Deserve for Harmful Testosterone Side Effects
In recent years, patients have banded together to speak out against the drugmakers who create and market testosterone medications. In addition to causing potentially fatal side effects, some lawsuits have claimed that drug manufacturers pushed their medications onto patients using false claims of renewed sexual energy and vitality, while downplaying the serious risks of the drugs. Others claim that the marketing campaigns for these medications were aimed at populations who were at increased risk of adverse effects, such as elderly men and men with no prior history of low testosterone levels.
If you or someone in your family was injured as a result of taking testosterone therapy, we can investigate the circumstances of your claim and get you compensation for your suffering. The McGartland Law Firm has won multi-millions of dollars for clients like you who were injured through no fault of their own, and we do not collect legal fees unless we win your case. Call the number on this page today to speak to a legal representative about your claim.