July 3, 2014 — A study published in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy has found no link between testosterone and heart attacks after evaluating data on older men who received intramuscular injections of testosterone.
Researchers from the University of Texas analyzed medical records on over 25,000 men over the age of 65 who were on Medicare. They identified 6,355 patients who were treated with at least one injection of testosterone between January 1997 and December 2005. These patients were matched with over 19,000 men who did not use testosterone.
The researchers concluded that testosterone shots did not increase the risk of heart attack. For men who had a high risk of heart attack, testosterone use was mildly protective.
Still, the debate is far from over. The study was limited to testosterone injections. Most lawsuits involve topical testosterone gels, such as AndroGel. Another major limitation was that most of the data was collected before the boom in testosterone replacement therapy — prescriptions jumped five-fold between 2001 and 2011, mostly for gel products like AndroGel. In the next few years, large-scale, randomized clinical trials will provide a more definitive answer.
In November 2013, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a study linking testosterone with a 30% increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and death. In January 2014, PLOS One published a study linking testosterone to a doubled risk of heart attack for men over 65.
Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required manufacturers of all testosterone products to include warnings about venous thromboembolism (VTE), deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and pulmonary embolism (PE). These are all venous blood clot disorders — heart attacks are caused by arterial blood clots.
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