Fortesta is a popular product in testosterone replacement therapy. Unfortunately, numerous studies have linked it to life-threatening side effects — including pulmonary embolism (blood clots in the lungs). If you were not aware of the risk, you are not alone.
Fortesta and Blood Clots In the Lungs (Pulmonary Embolism)
Fortesta (testosterone gel) is used to treat adult men who have little or no testosterone (a condition called hypogonadism). The Prescribing Information warns that Fortesta can cause blood clots in the legs. If these clots travel to the lungs, they can cause a deadly pulmonary embolism.
One study, published in 2011 by Dr. Charles Glueck and colleagues, demonstrated that men on testosterone were more likely to have pulmonary embolisms if they also had genetic risk-factors for blood-clotting (factor V Leiden, for example). However, the study was limited by its small sample size.
Pulmonary Embolism Overview
Fortesta is known to cause blood clots in the legs (also known as deep vein thrombosis or DVT), according to the Prescribing Information. The most serious, life-threatening complication that can arise from DVT is a pulmonary embolism, in which a blood clot breaks loose and travels in the bloodstream, first to the heart and then to the lungs, where it can block the pulmonary artery or one of its branches.
Many people who survive pulmonary embolism will have complications for the rest of their lives, such as chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), or post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS). These complications occur when the blood clot destroys venous valves in the legs, which causes leg pain and swelling.
Other pulmonary embolism complications:
- Coughing up blood
- Heart failure or shock
- Heart palpitations
- Pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in lungs)
- Severe breathing difficulty
- Severe bleeding (usually a complication of treatment)
- Sudden Death