Millions of men use AndroGel (testosterone gel) to treat symptoms of low testosterone, or “Low T.” Unfortunately, recent studies linking AndroGel and heart attacks suggest that the life-threatening risks may outweigh the benefit of improving mood, energy level, libido, and muscle tone in older men.
AndroGel Heart Attacks
AndroGel is a topical gel that contains 1% or 1.62% testosterone. Once testosterone is absorbed into the body, it makes several physiological changes that increase the risk of blood clots. AndroGel increases the number of red blood cells, thickens the blood, and increases blood pressure. If a blood clot forms, it can easily travel to the heart and cause a heart attack.
What is the problem?
The manufacturer of AndroGel, AbbVie, is accused of aggressively marketing AndroGel to men with advertisements that do not adequately warn about the risk of heart attacks. As a result, millions of men with “Low T” but no serious medical conditions have made a lifetime commitment to a product that may be severely damaging their health.
FDA Requires Warnings About AndroGel Heart Attack Risk
March 3, 2015 — In a Safety Communication, the FDA has required warning about the possible increased risk of heart attacks on the label for all testosterone replacement products, including AndroGel. The FDA cautions that AndroGel is not approved or recommended for the treatment of “Low T” associated with aging. They are also requiring new clinical trials to assess the risk of heart attacks from AndroGel. Click here to read more.
Patients using AndroGel should seek medical attention immediately if symptoms of a heart attack or stroke are present, such as:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
- Weakness in one part or one side of the body
- Slurred speech
AndroGel Heart Attack Risk 2-3X Higher for Older Men
The journal PLoS One published a concerning study in January 2014 linking testosterone therapy to a two-fold increased risk of heart attack for men over 65. They also found a two- to three-fold increased risk for men under 65 with pre-existing diagnosis of heart disease.
AndroGel Linked to 30% Increased Risk of Heart Attack
In the first 90 days after a man starts testosterone therapy, he is 30% more likely to have a heart attack, according to a study published in Journal of the American Medical Association in November 2013. Researchers estimated that approximately one-fourth of men on testosterone would have a cardiovascular event within 3 years on testosterone.
What is a Heart Attack?
The heart muscle requires a steady supply of oxygenate blood, and heart attacks occur when a blood clot or plaque obstructs coronary arteries and cuts off circulation to the heart muscle. If circulation is not restored, the heart muscle may be severely damaged and unable to pump blood.
Symptoms of a Heart Attack
- Chest pain, tightness, “crushing” feeling, burning, or discomfort
- Pain may radiate to back, neck, arms, or abdomen
- Nausea, vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of consciousness