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Testosterone Stroke and Heart Attack Risks

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According to recent medical research,  testosterone supplement treatments for men can cause an increased risk of stroke, heart attack or even death.

Men with preexisting heart conditions were 30 percent more likely to suffer a stroke, heart attack or die compared to healthy men who didn’t take testosterone supplements.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in November and is the second major study that has reported an increased risk when taking testosterone supplements.

What is Testosterone therapy?

Testosterone treatment is only approved by the FDA to treat men with documented medical evidence of low testosterone blood levels. But now because of aggressive direct to consumer marketing, many doctors are prescribing testosterone to men to combat the natural decline in testosterone as they age. It allegedly improves sex drive, strengthen bone density and build muscle mass. This off label use of the drug by doctors is worrisome and not subject to FDA review.

Testosterone therapy is administered as a gel, patch or injection. The following products are prescribed treat low testosterone:

  •     Androgel
  •     Androderm
  •     Axirom
  •     Bio-T-Gel
  •     Delatestryl
  •     Depo-Testosterone
  •     Fortesta
  •     Striant
  •     Testim
  •     Testopel

Risks of Unnecessary Testosterone therapy

Testosterone is a steroid sex hormone that the body produces naturally through a complex biochemical process. Men receiving necessary testosterone treatments may be exposed to potentially severe cardiovascular and metabolic problems, including plaque buildup leading to artery blockages, high cholesterol, diabetes and increased risk of cancer especially prostate cancer.

Testosterone Treatment Marketing Worries Medical Experts

Middle aged men are being bombarded with aggressive marketing of low testosterone or low T as a common medical condition. According to IMS Health, a health care information company, this new “disease” has helped sales of testosterone gels, patches, injections and tablets to about $2 billion in the United States in 2012.

AbbVie, Inc., the manufacturer of AndroGel, a heavily marketed testosterone supplement, issued a statement in response to the study, acknowledging their product could cause serious problems for people who have heart, kidney or lung disease.

Testosterone Medical Studies

A recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine reported that about a quarter of men had received testosterone prescriptions without having had blood tests to check their levels.

“A lot of these men don’t have clear, unequivocal indications for this drug,” says Dr. Baillargeon of the University of Texas, the lead author of the study, “and yet you see the aggressive advertising on ESPN, on radio, on the Internet.”