Study Finds Low-T Drugs May Sometimes Improve Heart Health
What Does This Mean For Your AndroGel Heart Attack Case?
In 2014, several studies found a link between testosterone therapy and serious heart-related side-effects, including heart attack, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism and stroke. As a result of these studies, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered an investigation of testosterone replacement drugs like AndroGel, Testim, Axiron and Fortesta. After months of review, the FDA concluded that there was enough of a risk to require drug companies to change their labels to warn of possible heart attacks and strokes. The FDA emphasized that the drugs are only approved for men who have decreased levels of testosterone due to disorders of the testicles, pituitary gland or brain, and warned doctors to stop prescribing Low-T drugs for age-related testosterone decline.
Since then, thousands of men have filed lawsuits against AbbVie, the maker of AndroGel. These men claim that they suffered serious cardiovascular side effects while undergoing testosterone therapy for age-related low-T. Now, a new study has found that for some men, testosterone replacement therapy may actually lower the risk of heart attack. What does this mean for the men who have filed AndroGel lawsuits?
Could Low-T Drugs Also Lower Risk of Heart Attack, Stroke, and Early Death?
Dr. Rajat Barua, MD, of the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri reviewed the medical records of more than 80,000 men who were clinically diagnosed with Low-T. None of the men had a history of heart attack or stroke at the time of diagnosis.
Dr. Barua and his team divided the men into three groups:
Group 1: Men who were prescribed testosterone replacement drugs and, as a result, had normalized testosterone levels (confirmed by repeated testing).
Group 2: Men who were prescribed testosterone replacement drugs, but whose testosterone levels did not normalize.
Group 3: Men who did not use testosterone replacement therapy.
After accounting for factors such as age, body mass index, diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease, and use of aspirin or statins, the researchers found that men in Group 1 had a significantly lower risk of heart attack, stroke, and early death than men in Groups 2 and 3.
The study was published in the European Heart Journal.
What Does This Study Mean?
The important factor in this study is that men only saw cardiovascular benefits when testosterone levels were normalized. About one-third of men who undergo testosterone replacement therapy for age-related low-T receive a prescription without a serum blood test of testosterone levels. Doctors rarely follow-up with further testing after the drug is prescribed. Many men take testosterone drugs without achieving the normalization required for heart health benefits. The take-home message of this study is that medical follow-up is especially important when taking medications that affect cardiovascular health.
Will the Study Effect Your AndroGel Heart Attack Claim?
If you suffered a heart attack after treatment with AndroGel, Axiron, Fortesta or another testosterone drug, you may have considered filing a lawsuit against the drug company. Testosterone lawsuits are based on the fact that the drug companies heavily advertised testosterone drugs for off-label uses without disclosing potential risks. Neither patients nor doctors were informed about the risks or the need for testing and follow-up. Therefore, the study should have little effect on AndroGel lawsuits.
If you have questions about your own situation, please contact the Drug Safety Lawyers at 888-808-1340.