One of the most popular testosterone replacement products, Androgel, is known to increase your risk of developing blood clots in the legs — a condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). In some cases, DVT can cause a life-threatening pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs).
Androgel and Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
Androgel is a testosterone gel product that is known to potentially cause blood clots in the legs, also known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), according to the Prescribing Information. Furthermore, two patients developed deep vein thrombosis during clinical trials of Androgel.
Can Androgel Cause DVT?
Androgel contains 1% or 1.62% concentrations of testosterone. The product is applied to the skin and testosterone is absorbed directly into the bloodstream. This has several physiological effects that increase your risk of blood clots. Testosterone increases the number of red blood cells, which thickens the blood, increases blood volume, and elevates blood pressure. These are all risk-factors for blood clots.
What is Deep Vein Thrombosis?
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) occurs when abnormal blood clots grow inside veins located deep inside the body. The blood clots usually grow in the calf or thigh, but in rare cases, they can also grow in the pelvis, kidney, arm, or other areas. Symptoms of DVT include pain, swelling, warmth, and red discoloration of skin on the leg.
Blood clots in the legs can grow very large and cause serious venous damage — a condition called post-thrombotic syndrome, in which damaged valves allow fluid and blood to accumulate in the lower legs. Symptoms include pain, skin hardening, ulcers, poorly-healing wounds, swelling, edema, and more.
However, the most serious complication of DVT is a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs). This complication occurs when small pieces of a blood clot in the legs travels in the bloodstream, gets pumped through the heart, and clogs a pulmonary artery in the lungs.
- Blood-thinning drugs (i.e., warfarin)
- Intravenous (IV) clot-busting drugs (i.e., heparin)
- Compression stockings
- Catheter-directed thrombolysis
- Open surgery
- Inferior vena cava (IVC) filter