Fortesta, a popular testosterone gel, is associated with an increased risk of blood clots in the legs, which can potentially lead to a pulmonary embolism. If you were not warned about the risk of pulmonary embolism from Fortesta, you are not alone.
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Fortesta and Pulmonary Embolism
The Prescribing Information for Fortesta (testosterone gel) includes warnings about blood clots in the legs. If these blood clots break loose, they can potentially migrate to the lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism.
Testosterone therapy was linked to pulmonary embolisms in a small study published in 2011. Researchers warned that men with certain genetic mutations (such as factor V Leiden) could be more likely to have a pulmonary embolism. A simple blood-test can check for these mutations.
Information About Pulmonary Embolisms
A pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot travels in the bloodstream and becomes lodged in an artery in the lungs. Because a pulmonary embolism blocks blood-flow, it is a life-threatening condition that can damage the lungs and other organs in your body. Pulmonary embolisms usually occur as a complication of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) — blood clots in the legs — a known side effect of Fortesta and testosterone replacement therapy.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) has provided the following list of pulmonary embolism symptoms:
- Chest pain
- Under the breastbone or on one side
- Most often feels sharp or stabbing
- May be described as burning, aching, dull, heavy sensation
- Usually gets worse with deep breathing
- You may bend over or hold your chest in response to pain
- Sudden cough (may contain bloody mucous)
- Rapid breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Shortness of breath that starts suddenly
Other symptoms that may occur:
- Bluish skin discoloration (cyanosis)
- Clammy skin
- Leg pain, redness, or swelling
- Light-headedness or fainting
- Low blood pressure
Resources & Additional Information
- Diseases and Conditions: Pulmonary Embolism — Mayo Clinic
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