Men given injectable testosterone treatments are at greater risk of a heart attack or stroke in the short term compared to men using testosterone gels or patches, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
The research comes on the heels of previous studies that showed an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and death in men who used testosterone replacement therapies. Those studies led to new warnings for heart attack, stroke and blood clots on packages of testosterone treatments; requirements for manufacturers to collect cardiovascular data on their products; as well as stricter wording on labels to indicate that products are not suited for men who suffer from a natural drop in testosterone due to aging.
Those studies did not compare cardiovascular risks among the different formulations of testosterone treatments. The new epidemiological study compared testosterone injections, gels and patches using three large, diverse databases.
“There’s a large spike of serum testosterone that happens after an injection, so the injections may carry a slightly higher cardiovascular risk,” lead author Dr. J. Bradley Layton, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, told Medscape Medical News. Comparatively, gels and patches cause more subtle but sustained increases in testosterone.
Researchers conclude that the findings emphasize the need for doctors to prescribe testosterone treatments only when warranted and to be aware of potential risks with certain formulations.