Testosterone Injections May Have Higher Risks than Gels

Testosterone Injections May Have Higher Risks than GelsMay 20, 2015 — Testosterone injections have been linked to higher cardiovascular risks than topical gel products, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Conclusions were based on data from a commercial insurer, Medicare patients, and records from the United Kingdom between January 2000 and December 2013.

Out of nearly 550,000 men who started using testosterone, 37% used injection products like Depo-Testosterone and 56% used a gel product like AndroGel.

Compared to men using gels, men who used injections were 26% more likely to have a heart attack, chest pain, or stroke. They were also 16% more likely to be hospitalized and 34% more likely to die.

The researchers concluded:

“Testosterone injections were associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular events, hospitalizations, and deaths compared with gels. Patches and gels had similar risk profiles.”

According to MedPage Today, short-acting testosterone injections were associated with higher spikes in testosterone levels than gels, which are slowly absorbed through the skin.

Unfortunately, the study did not compare the rate of cardiovascular events among users and non-users of testosterone. Earlier this year, the FDA required label changes to warn about the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death in patients taking testosterone.

The FDA also said testosterone products should not be used to counteract the effects of aging. In recent years, the manufacturer of AndroGel has aggressively promoted it for men with “Low T,” suggesting that aging men with symptoms like low libido, sagging muscles, and depressed mood might have low testosterone.

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