Testosterone replacement therapy such as AndroGel and Axiron has been linked to a 63 percent increased risk of serious blood clots in the first six months of use, according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal. Blood clots associated with testosterone treatments form in the veins, a condition known as venous thromboembolism (VTE). These clots are the kind that can cause deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism (blood clots in the lungs), leading to heart attacks, strokes, organ damage or death, according to the American Heart Association.
“Risk peaks rapidly in the first six months of treatment and lasts for about nine months, and fades gradually thereafter,” said the study’s lead researcher Dr. Carlos Martinez with the Institute for Epidemiology, Statistics and Informatics in Frankfurt, Germany.
Martinez and colleagues reviewed data from about 19,000 patients in the U.K. with confirmed VTE and compared them with 909,000 men of similar age without VTE. They found that within the first six months of testosterone replacement therapy, a man’s risk for developing a blood clot was 63 percent compared to men not taking the hormone.
Men with VTE risk factors who use testosterone treatments may be at an even greater risk, researchers say. VTE risk factors include obesity, prolonged immobility, advanced age, and a history of blood clots.
Manufacturers currently face a growing number of lawsuits from men who used the drugs and claim the drug companies did not adequately warn of the risks. The first testosterone lawsuits are scheduled to be tried in early 2017.
Source: CBS News