Androgel is a testosterone gel product that is known to increase the risk of blood clots in the legs. This condition, also known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), can lead to severe venous damage or a life-threatening pulmonary embolism.
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Androgel and Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
The Prescribing Information for Androgel warns that blood clots in the legs are a known side effect. This condition is also known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). During clinical trials of Androgel, two patients developed deep vein thrombosis that may have been caused by treatment.
How Could Androgel Cause DVT?
Androgel is a testosterone replacement gel that contains either 1% or 1.62% concentrations of testosterone. The hormone is absorbed directly through the skin into the bloodstream. One of the most common effects is an increase in the number of red blood cells, which also increases the total volume and thickness of blood. These complications may increase the risk of blood clots in the legs or DVT.
What is Deep Vein Thrombosis?
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that grows inside a vein deep inside the body. The blood clot almost always grows in the calf or thigh. In rare cases, DVT occurs in the pelvis, kidney, or other area of the body.
On its own, DVT is not usually life-threatening. However, blood clots can grow very large and cause serious venous damage — including a complication called post-thrombotic syndrome, in which valve damage in the legs causes pain, swelling, edema, ulcers, and other complications.
The most serious complication of DVT is a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs). This complication occurs when a small piece of the blood clot breaks off, travels through the heart, and gets stuck in the lungs. The combination of DVT and a pulmonary embolism is known as a venous thromboembolism (VTE).
About 50% of people who have DVT do not have symptoms. When symptoms do appear, they may include:
- Swelling in the leg along a vein
- Pain or tenderness in the leg, especially when walking
- Increased warmth in the leg
- Red or discolored area of skin on the leg
Resources & Additional Info
- Diseases and Conditions: Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) — Mayo Clinic
- What is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)? — National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
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