A recent issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) details a clinical trial relating to the risk of heart attack (myocardial infarctions) in men treated with testosterone therapies such as the popular products AndroGel and Axiron. Pharmaceutical companies are marketing these drugs to men for a condition described as “Low T” or low testosterone levels. There is, however, no distinct medical condition known as “Low T”, lowering testosterone levels are part of the normal aging process in men and the FDA has not approved the use of these drugs for men who simply have low testosterone levels without any related medical condition. Prescriptions for testosterone therapies in the U.S. have increased dramatically in the last decade and now account for approximately $2 billion in annual sales.
The JAMA update details the results of a clinical trial published in PloS One in January, 2014. That clinical trial found that men aged 65 and older experienced a two-fold increase in the risk of heart attack in the first 90 days of starting testosterone therapy. The trial also found that men under the age of 65 with a history of heart disease experienced a two to three-fold increased risk of developing a heart attack. The authors stated their concern over the increasing use of testosterone therapies in the absence of clinical trials showing any purported benefit of the treatment. They also warned physicians to counsel patients regarding the potential risks of a heart attack, specifically in men with pre-existing cardiovascular disease. This article joins the growing body of scientific literature, including two articles in the New England Journal of Medicine, drawing attention to the serious risks involved in the use of testosterone therapy and questioning drug manufacturers’ claims regarding the benefits of the treatment. The pharmaceutical industry and doctors working as paid consultants for the industry have gone on the offensive with attempts to discredit this peer-reviewed research. This is not at all surprising when one considers the astonishing amount of sales generated by these testosterone replacement therapies.
Any patient contemplating testosterone or low-T therapy would be wise to read these recent studies and discuss the associated risk factors with his doctor.
SUGARMAN is investigating claims where patients have suffered heart attacks, strokes or embolic events such as deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary emboli as a result of testosterone replacement therapies (TRT) such as AndroGel, Axiron and Androderm. Please continue to monitor our blog and our website for more information as developments arise. If you or a loved one has suffered a significant cardiovascular event while taking or soon after discontinuing testosterone replacement therapy, please fill out a Contact Form, call us at 617-542-1000 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.