Testim (testosterone gel) is a popular treatment option for men with hypogonadism. Unfortunately, two recent studies have linked testosterone therapy with an increased risk of heart attack — especially for older men and those with narrow arteries due to heart disease.
What is the problem?
Testim is known to cause blood clots, according to the Prescribing Information. If these blood clots grow in the heart, they could potentially cause a heart attack. Testosterone therapy is also known to increase the number of red blood cells, which thickens the blood and elevates blood pressure. All of these factors could lead to a heart attack.
FDA Requires Warnings About Testim 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 Testim. The FDA cautions that Testim 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 Testim. Click here to read more.
Patients using Testim 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
Studies Link Testosterone and 2X Risk of Heart Attack
January 31, 2014 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has opened an investigation into two studies linking testosterone therapy and heart attacks. The investigation was prompted by a study linking testosterone with a 30% increased risk of heart attack, stroke, or death.
Just days before the FDA Safety Warning, another study was published linking testosterone to a doubled risk of heart attack for men over 65, and a tripled increased risk for younger men with heart disease.
What is a Heart Attack?
Heart attacks happen when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle is cut off. The culprit is usually a blood clot or fatty plaque deposit that formed in an artery. Normally, the coronary arteries supply different areas of the heart muscle with blood. When these arteries are obstructed, the heart muscle is “starved” of oxygen and it begins to die. The severity of a heart attack depends on the size of the area that was deprived of oxygen and the amount of time elapsed until treatment.
What Should I Do?
Call 9-1-1 within five minutes if you or someone else is having a heart attack. Treatment is most effective when it is given as soon as possible. Sometimes, people who are having a heart attack don’t know what is going on. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Chest pain or discomfort: Symptoms may happen suddenly or gradually. Some heart attacks feel like indigestion, heartburn, chest tightness, squeezing, crushing, or fullness.
- Upper body discomfort: Chest pain may radiate to the arms, back, shoulders, neck, jaw, or stomach area.
- Shortness of breath: You may feel unable to catch your breath even with rapid breathing. May occur while resting or during physical activity.
Other heart attack symptoms:
- Excessive sweating
- Feeling unusually tired
- Nausea and vomiting
- Light-headedness or sudden dizziness