Study Questions Link Between Testosterone and Heart Attacks

As a growing number of testosterone lawsuit continue to be filed nationwide on behalf of men who allege that side effects of the “low T” treatments caused them to suffer serious and potentially life-threatening injuries, the findings of a new study raises question about the link between testosterone and heart attacks among older men.

According to research published in The Annals of Pharmacotherapy on July 2, no association was found between men who received injected testosterone therapy and those who suffered myocardial infarction. In fact, the researchers suggests that testosterone supplement injections may actually have a modestly protective effect on men who already carried a high heart attack risk.

Researchers from the University of Texas identified 6,355 patients who received at least one testosterone injection between January 1, 1997, and December 31, 2005, raising questions about the scope of recent studies that have identified a link between use of low testosterone treatments and an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and sudden death.

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This most recent study was limited only to testosterone injections, while most products involved in the recent lawsuits have been topical creams and gels, such as AndroGel, Testim, Axiron and others, which are also the most widely used because they do not require regular injections by a doctor.

Testosterone Heart Attack Lawsuits

Hundreds of AndroGel lawsuits, Axiron lawsuits, Testim lawsuits and other cases involving heart attacks following use of testosterone drugs have been filed this year, following a series of other studies that have highlighted potential cardiovascular risks associated with the popular medications.

In November 2013, a study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) which evaluated data on more than 8,700 veterans with low testosterone levels who had pre-existing heart problems. That research found that side effects of low testosterone drugs were associated with increased rates of heart attacks, strokes, and death.

That research was followed by a larger study published in the medical journal PLOSOne in January 2014, which involved a review of data on more than 55,000 men who received an initial prescription for testosterone and compared them to men who received a first prescription for an erectile dysfunction drug. The study found that low T treatments may double the risk of heart attack for younger men with pre-existing heart disease, and for men over the age of 65, regardless of their prior heart conditions.

In response to these findings, the FDA has launched a safety review of all testosterone replacement therapy on January 31, leading to speculation that the federal drug regulators may require new warnings or other steps to limit use of the medication just to those who have a testosterone deficiency associate with a medical condition.

Most of the lawsuits filed to date involve similar allegations that drug makers aggressively promoted testosterone gel treatments for use among men who had no real medical need, suggesting that men may be suffering from “low T” if they suffered any number of symptoms commonly seen among aging men, including decreased energy, lack of sex drive and weight gain.

As the number of complaints filed in U.S. District Courts nationwide has continued to grow, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation established coordianted pretrial proceedings for the cases last month, centralizing all testosterone litigation before U.S. District Judge U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly in the Northern District of Illinois.


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