Men using testosterone replacement treatments are at greater risk of suffering a heart attack during the first 90 days of treatment than men who have been on the hormone replacement for more than four months. They were also at greater risk of heart attack compared to men who had used the treatment and discontinued use, according to a new study published in the journal Pharmacotherapy.
The study involved data from the IMS LikeLink database for new-onset heart attacks in men ages 45 to 80 who had filled at least one prescription for testosterone replacement therapy. Researchers looked at current users whose last prescription for the drug was within 90 days before their heart attack (current, first-time users), and past users whose last testosterone prescription was 91 to 365 days before their heart attack (past users). Researchers found men who were first-time users of testosterone supplements had a 41 percent increased risk of having a heart attack.
Previous studies have suggested that testosterone therapy can increase the risk of cardiovascular-related events including heart attacks and strokes, as well as death. The findings prompted an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
An advisory committee for the agency recommended that tighter wording be placed on packaging for the drugs to better define indications for the hormone treatment. The panel also suggested testosterone manufacturers collect cardiovascular adverse event data from patients using their products.
Several makers of testosterone treatments face lawsuits against people who claim the companies knew the heart attack and stroke risks associated with their testosterone treatments but failed to properly warn consumers.