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Health Canada Issues Warning for Testosterone Heart Risks


July 21, 2014 — Health officials in Canada have issued a warning about possible cardiovascular side effects from testosterone therapy.

Health Canada is concerned about a “growing body of evidence” linking testosterone and heart problems, based on studies and case reports. These events include blood clots in the lungs or legs, heart attack, stroke, and a heart rhythm that is irregular or fast.

They recommended against prescribing testosterone therapy to men who have non-specific symptoms of low testosterone unless they have had laboratory tests to confirm hypogonadism and other explanations have been ruled out.

Prescriptions for testosterone products jumped five-fold from 2000-2011, reaching 5.3 million prescriptions. Recent studies indicate that only about half of men on testosterone actually have hypogonadism. About 25% never had a blood test before receiving a prescription.

Health Canada has asked manufacturers to add information about cardiovascular side effects to the label. They are also asking healthcare professionals to assess patients for risk-factors before giving them a testosterone replacement products. During treatment, patients should be monitored routinely for heart problems.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Health Canada recommends contacting a healthcare professional if you develop any of the following symptoms while using testosterone replacement products:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sudden numbness in the face, arm or leg
  • Sudden difficulty speaking or understanding
  • Trouble with walking or seeing
  • Headache, light-headedness, dizziness
  • Rapid pulse
  • Sweating
  • Coughing up blood
  • Swelling or pain in the leg (including ankle and foot)
  • Changes in skin color (e.g., turning pale, red or blue)
  • Fluttering in your chest
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Fainting or near fainting


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