Testosterone replacement therapy is used by millions of men with low testosterone (or “hypogonadism”). Unfortunately, products like Depo-Testosterone have become controversial after researchers found that it could increase a man’s risk of stroke by 30%. Lawsuits now accuse drug-makers of downplaying risk information and aggressively promoting testosterone for “Low T.”
Depo-Testosterone and Stroke
Depo-Testosterone is an injection of testosterone cypionate. One side effect of testosterone replacement therapy is an increase in the number of red blood cells, which can also increase blood pressure and thickness. These risk-factors may also increase the risk of a stroke (blood clot in the brain).
FDA Warns About Depo-Testosterone Stroke Risk
March 3, 2015 — The FDA has published a Safety Communication to announce that the makers of Depo-Testosterone and other testosterone replacement products must add warnings about the possible increased risk of stroke. They also must conduct clinical trials to study the risk of stroke. The FDA has emphasized that Depo-Testosterone is not approved for treating “Low T” due to aging. Click here to read more.
If you use Depo-Testosterone, seek emergency medical attention if symptoms of a 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
Testosterone May Increase Risk of Stroke by 30%
A study published by Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in November 2013 has prompted an investigation from the FDA. Researchers found a 30% increased risk of stroke, heart attack, death in the first 90 days of testosterone replacement therapy. Conclusions were based on data from over 8,700 men with low testosterone. The median age was 60 and many men had pre-existing heart disease.
What is a Stroke?
Ischemic stroke (blood clot in the brain) cuts off the supply of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to brain cells. If normal blood-flow is not restored within a couple minutes, brain cells (neurons) begin to die, causing permanent brain damage.
Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death for American adults, and a leading cause of adult long-term disability. About 50-70% of stroke survivors regain functional independence, but 15-30% are permanently disabled. The severity of the disability depends on the part of the brain that was damaged.
Complications of a stroke may include:
- Paralysis or movement problems
- Sensory disturbances (e.g., pain)
- Language problems
- Thinking and memory problems
- Emotional disturbances
Resources & Additional Information
- What is a Stroke? — National Stroke Association
- Fact Sheet: Coping psychologically after a stroke — U.S. National Library of Medicine