Thousands of men with low testosterone use treatments like Striant. It is supposed to improve problems like fatigue, sexual dysfunction, depressed mood, and sagging muscles. Instead, the FDA is investigating two studies linking testosterone and heart attacks.
Striant and Heart Attacks
Like all testosterone replacement products, Striant (testosterone buccal system) increases the risk of blood clots in the legs. The problem is that testosterone thickens the blood, increases the number of red blood cells, and elevates blood pressure. These adverse effects may also increase the risk of heart attack, which occurs when a blood clot obstructs a coronary artery.
FDA Requires Warnings About Striant 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 Striant. The FDA cautions that Striant 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 Striant. Click here to read more.
Patients using Striant 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
FDA Investigates Heart Attack Risk of Testosterone
In January 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a Safety Alert and began investigating two studies linking testosterone and cardiovascular events. One study found that men over 65 had twice the risk of heart attack if they used testosterone — and three times the risk of heart attack if they also had heart disease. Another study linked testosterone to a 30% increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and death.
Heart Attack Overview
The heart is a muscle that requires a steady supply of oxygen-rich blood to function. There are several coronary arteries that supply different areas of the heart muscle with oxygen. Heart attacks (“myocardial infarction”) occur when something obstructs a coronary artery — such as a blood clot or fatty plaque deposit.
- Chest pain: Usually described as crushing, squeezing, or tightness in the center or left side of the chest. May occur suddenly or gradually, spread to other areas of the body (neck, back, arms, jaw). Sometimes feels like back pain, indigestion, or heartburn.
- Shortness of breath or rapid breathing: Occurs when a heart attack limits the output of the left ventricle.
Other symptoms of a heart attack:
- Excessive sweating
- Pale, blue-gray skin
- Irregular heart rhythm
- Anxiety or feeling of impending doom
- Light-headedness or loss of consciousness
Call 9-1-1 Right Away
A heart attack is a medical emergency — call 9-1-1 for an ambulance within 5 minutes if you think you or someone else is having a heart attack. Paramedics in an ambulance can begin treatment on the way to the hospital, with drugs and equipment like:
- Aspirin (blood-thinner that prevents more blood clots)
- Heart medications (nitroglycerin)
- Defibrillator (may re-start the heart if it stops beating)