If you or someone you love suffered a heart attack or stroke while receiving testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries. Treatments for low testosterone, popularly referred to as “Low T,” are aggressively marketed and about 3% of men over 40 now take a prescription testosterone replacement.
But as more studies are completed, it appears that the risks outweigh the benefits of low T medications. The FDA announced in January, 2014, that it is investigating the risk of stroke, heart attack, and death in men using TRT products.
Common Low T Medications
Testosterone medications come in many forma including gels, creams, injections, pills, underarm roll-on, and transdermal patch. Brand names include:
- Annual prescriptions for testosterone increased by more than 5-fold from 2000 to 2011, reaching 5.3 million prescriptions and a market of $1.6 billion in 2011.
- Sales of testosterone replacement therapies have more than doubled since 2006 and are expected to triple to $5 billion by 2017.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has only approved testosterone drugs to treat low testosterone in men who have rare medical conditions. They include:
- Failure of the testicles to produce testosterone as a result of various causes including tumors, genetic problems and chemotherapy.
- Problems with brain structures that control the production of testosterone.
Testosterone levels can also decline as a result of aging, which is not considered to be a medical condition. As more convenient methods of administering TRT drug have been developed and approved, pharmaceutical companies have begun aggressively marketing the concept of “Low T” as something men no longer have to put up with, and sales have soared. Symptoms include:
- Reduced sex drive
- Sexual dysfunction
- Decreased energy or fatigue
- Depressed mood
- Reduced muscle mass
- Increase in body fat
- Decrease in bone strength leading to fractures
- Loss of body hair, reduced need for shaving
Although testosterone drugs are meant to treat low testosterone, technically called hypogonadism, they are often prescribed based on symptoms alone without any tests to determine actual testosterone levels.
Heart attack risks
Prompted by two studies that found an increased risk in TRT patients, the FDA is investigating testosterone replacement therapy.
The first study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in November 2013, observed older men in the U.S. Veteran Affairs health system, and found a 30% increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and death in those who were taking TRT.
A study PLOS ONE, published on January 29 2014, included younger men as well. This observational study, reported by researchers from UCLA, NCI, and Consolidated Research, Inc., found that men 65 and older who filled a TRT prescription were at double the risk for heart attack within three months than those who did not. It also found that in men under 65 who had a pre-existing history of heart disease, experienced a two to three-fold increased risk of heart attack within the first 90 days of filling their prescription.
If you have suffered a heart attack or stroke while taking a testosterone product, or if you have lost someone who was taking testosterone, you may be able to recover significant compensation. Contact a pharmaceutical injury attorney today.