“Testosterone medications make the blood clot and if they get stuck in your heart, that constitutes a heart attack,” says Etminan, who is currently working on an observational study at UBC involving more than one million men.
There is still a lot of discussion regarding testosterone therapy safety, and drug companies are working hard to dispel any hard evidence of dangerous testosterone side effects. One study in JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association, August 2013, titled “Trends in Androgen Prescribing in the United States, 2001-2011”) said that a large number of men prescribed testosterone didn’t have hypogonadism, which is the approved diagnosis for testosterone. (Hypogonadism is a specific and recognized condition of the endocrine system, which in men may involve the severely diminished production or nonproduction of testosterone.) Rather, one third of men prescribed testosterone had a diagnosis of fatigue, and one quarter of men did not even have their testosterone levels tested before they received a testosterone prescription.
Some men don’t even see a doctor in order to receive testosterone therapy. For instance, one testosterone consumer told this reporter that in his neighborhood, a store has hung a sign outside reading: “Low T-count? We can test you today.”
“The article in JAMA got a lot of letters to the editor from a group of doctors who are likely representing the testosterone manufacturing companies,” explains Etminan. “They said the article contained inaccuracies and asked JAMA to retract the article but they didn’t.”
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“When a study shows that only 50 percent of men on these testosterone drugs had their testosterone measured, it would appear that the medications are being sold for libido issues, so no wonder men are flocking to get these drugs. But if you talk to urologists with no ties to the industry, they will advise you to think twice before taking testosterone drugs.”
A recent lawsuit filed against AbbVie Inc. and Abbott Laboratories Inc. alleges its Androgel product caused hematocrit level to increase, thereby thickening the blood and led to pulmonary embolism.