Testosterone injections like Depo-Testosterone may have higher risks than previously anticipated — recent studies indicate that the risk of heart attack may double for men over 65, and triple for men with pre-existing heart disease.
FDA Investigates Heart Attack Risk of Testosterone
January 31, 2014 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating studies linking testosterone replacement therapy and heart attacks. These studies indicate that heart attacks, strokes, and sudden death are 30% more likely in the first 90 days of testosterone treatment. For men over 65 and those with heart disease, the risk may be even higher.
Can Depo-Testosterone Cause Heart Attacks?
Depo-Testosterone is a prescription injection of testosterone cypionate. Testosterone is regulated under the Anabolic Steroids Act of 1990 because it is used illicitly by athletes to boost the number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells. This is well-known to increase the risk of blood clots in the legs. For older men and those with heart disease, it may also increase blood pressure, blood thickness, and the risk of heart attack (blood clots in the coronary arteries).
FDA Requires Warnings About Depo-Testosterone 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 Depo-Testosterone. The FDA cautions that testosterone 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 Depo-Testosterone. Click here to read more.
Patients using Depo-Testosterone 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
What is a Heart Attack?
Heart attacks occur when something obstructs a coronary artery. The culprit is usually a blood clot or fatty plaque deposit. During a heart attack, the heart muscle does not receive oxygen-rich blood. This deprives cells of the oxygen they need to survive, resulting in tissue damage.
Not all heart attacks have the same symptoms. Some are sudden and severe, like you see in the movies. Others are subtle and seem more like indigestion or back pain. Seek emergency medical attention for any suspected heart attack — just 5 minutes can mean the difference between life and death.
- Chest pain or discomfort: Lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and returns. May feel sharp, stabbing, squeezing, crushing, choking, indigestion, or heartburn. May spread to nearby areas of the body (back, neck, jaw, arms).
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea and vomiting
- Feeling like something serious is wrong
Resources & Additional Info
- What is a Heart Attack? — Mayo Clinic
- Heart Attack Signs & Symptoms — American Heart Association
- Long-term Prognosis After a Heart Attack — National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute