Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) and Heart Attacks
Testosterone is a hormone produced in a male’s testicles, which causes and maintains development of male sexual characteristics. The effects of testosterone include increased muscle bulk, maintenance of fat distribution, increased levels of red blood cells, higher bone density, and sexual and reproductive functions, such as sex drive and production of sperm.
After age 30 the body naturally decreases the amount of testosterone produced, a trend which continues by about 1% per year. However, levels of testosterone which fall below the normal levels for your age may be caused by a disease called, hypogonadism. This condition is caused by either a disorder in the testicles, such as injury or disease, or with the pituitary gland which controls the testicles. Having a low testosterone level has become popularly known as “Low T.”
Pharmaceutical companies have bypassed physicians and directly suggested to consumers through the mass media, that they should mention “Low T” or the possibility of a testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) to their doctors. Doctors have taken notice, and prescriptions for low T treatments have increased dramatically in the recent past.
In 2011, 5.3 million prescriptions were written for testosterone treatment in the U.S. , generating $1.6 billion in revenue for the pharmaceutical companies. This is a five-fold increase since 2000. Dr. Michael O’Leary, urologist at Harvard affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital, states: “Virtually everybody asks about this now because the direct-to-consumer marketing is so aggressive.“
Las Vegas Testosterone Replacement Therapy Lawyers
The pharmaceutical companies, employing a loophole in FDA regulations, are able to advertise directly to the mass market, and suggest that patients ask their doctors about various products. Due to aggressive marketing, sales of Low T treatments have increased 5-fold since 2000.
Our firm is evaluating cases where you were prescribed one of the popular Low T products and suffered a heart attack. Please call the lawyers at the Richard Harris Personal Injury Law Firm to discuss your matter, at (702) 444-4444, or fill out our online Free Consultation Form.
Symptoms of Low T
Advertising may give viewers the idea that feeling tired and run down may be the most prevalent symptom of lowered testosterone levels; however, additional symptoms may include:
- Decreased sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Fewer spontaneous erections
- Increase in body fat
- Reduced muscle bulk and strength
- Decrease in bone density
- Thinning of body hair
- Decreased energy levels
- Lack of motivation
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory Loss
The only way to accurately diagnose Low T is through a blood test.
Treatment methods for Low T include:
- Injection and Implants – Testosterone can be directly injected into the muscles via hypodermic, or implanted as pellets into soft tissues.
- Skin Patch – Is worn on the skin on the back, abdomen, uppers arms, or thighs and is applied once per day. Skin irritation and redness has been reported in users. This product must be used in a different location each day.
- Mouth Patch –Is a tablet that sticks to the upper gums and releases testosterone into the blood stream. Applied twice per day.
- Gels – Gel products are applied once per day to the skin and absorbed into the blood stream. Others should not come in contact with the area you applied it to, since they will then absorb the testosterone into their system. Gels can be particularly problematic with female sex partners and children who come in contact with the application site..
- Oral tablet – Is not often used, due to potential negative effects on the liver. Other methods bypass the liver and get the active ingredient into the blood stream directly
Risks of Treatment
January 31, 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Drug Safety Alert regarding FDA approved testosterone products, indicating that patients using FDA approved testosterone products, were at increased risk of stroke, heart attack and death. The FDA states that they are still investigating the data, and have not come to a conclusion.
This Safety Alert came in response to two different studies. The first was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in November 2013. In this study, those who underwent the testosterone therapy showed a 30% greater chance of adverse outcome than those who did not. Adverse outcomes included death, coronary events such as heart attack, and increase in chances of prostate cancer.
The second was a study published by PLOS-One in January 2014, and reviewed history of those who filled prescriptions for Testosterone products. This study found that men 65 and older, increased risk of heart attack two-fold within the first 90 days after the first prescription. Younger men who had been diagnosed with pre-existing heart disease showed a 2-3 times increase in risk of heart attack during the first 90 days.
Never stop taking any medication without first consulting your doctor.