Drugs that treat low testosterone may trigger heart attacks or strokes

Testosterone is the hormone responsible for the development of male reproductive tissue and male characteristics such as increased muscle and body hair. Testosterone levels peak when men are in their 20s and gradually decline after the age of 30. As testosterone levels decline, men may experience symptoms such as reduced sex drive, decreased energy, loss of body hair, reduced muscle mass, moodiness, and depression. Other causes of low testosterone include injury, illness, chemotherapy, stress, and alcoholism.

Some Men Treat Low-T With Medication

Low testosterone can be treated with testosterone replacement therapy. Testosterone products can reduce the side effects of low testosterone and make men look and feel younger. Testosterone replacement products are available as tablets, pellets, creams, gels, patches, and injections.

Some popular types of testosterone treatments include:

  • Tablets: Striant (Auxilium Pharmaceuticals)
  • Pellets: Testopel (Auxilium Pharmaceuticals)
  • Creams: Axiron (Lilly USA, LLC)
  • Gels: AndroGel (Abbvie), Bio-T-Gel (Teva Pharmaceuticals), Fortesta (Endo Pharmaceuticals), Testim (Auxilium Pharmaceuticals)
  • Patches: Androderm (Actavis)
  • Injections: Delatestryl (Endo Pharmaceuticals), Depo-Testosterone (Unigen Life Sciences)

Testosterone treatment is effective, but it isn’t safe for everyone.

Potential Side Effects of Testosterone Treatments

Some of the serious side effects associated with low-T drugs include heart attack and stroke.

These aren’t the only side effects associated with testosterone products. Other side effects include problems with urination, swelling of the ankles, swelling of breast tissue, prolonged erections, nausea, stomach pain, fever, loss of appetite, and jaundice.

AndroGel Studies and Side Effects

A 2010 study tracked the health of 209 older men with low testosterone. The average age of the men was 74. Many of the participants had other medical conditions such as heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes. Half the men were given testosterone gel; the other half received a placebo. The study was discontinued after a spike in heart attacks among the men using the testosterone gel. The results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

A 2013 study of veterans found that some men may face a significantly higher risk of heart attack, stroke, and death after treatment with Androgel. The study included 8,700 men with an average age of 60. Each of the participants had a testosterone level below 300 and had received a coronary angiography due to plaque buildup in the arteries. The researchers compared the health histories of the 1,223 veterans who received testosterone replacement treatment with the 7,489 men who were not using testosterone. The rate of adverse events such as heart attack, stroke, and death was 25.7 percent for testosterone users compared to 19.9 percent in non-users.

AndroGel Lawsuits

Thousands of lawsuits have been filed against AbbieVie Inc., the maker of AndroGel. These lawsuits allege that AbbieVie knew about the risks of heart attack, stroke, and blood clots and failed to warn patients and doctors of these risks.

The cases are currently part of multi-district litigation (MDL) in federal district court in Illinois. The first eight bellwether cases are expected to be heard by the court in 2017.

If you suffered a heart attack or stroke after beginning testosterone treatment, then you deserve to make a fair recovery.

We encourage you to call our experienced pharmaceutical injury lawyers to find if you may have a lawsuit against AbbieVie Inc., the maker of AndroGel, or the manufacturer of another testosterone replacement medication. There is no cost for the consultation, and our attorneys don’t get paid unless we get results from your drug injury case.

Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.