Testosterone and Increased Risk of Heart Attacks: Contradictory Evidence? | Levin Papantonio - Personal Injury Lawyers

Testosterone and Increased Risk of Heart Attacks: Contradictory Evidence?

In November of 2013, a research study, carried out at a Veteran's Administration facility, appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The conclusion:

“Among a cohort of men in the VA health care system who underwent coronary angiography and had a low serum testosterone level, the use of testosterone therapy was associated with increased risk of adverse outcomes” (Vigen, et. al.)

In other words, the use of supplemental testosterone appeared to be connected with heart attacks among the research subjects.

These findings were similar to those from an earlier study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2010:

“In this population of older men with limitations in mobility and a high prevalence of chronic disease, the application of a testosterone gel was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular adverse events” (Basaria et. al.)

However, in a study soon to be released from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institution in Utah has come to a different conclusion:

“...men who have undergone testosterone replacement therapy has found that taking supplemental testosterone does not increase their risk of experiencing a major adverse cardiac event, such as a heart attack or stroke” (from Science Daily, 18 November 2014)

Who is correct?

In an article appearing in the Salt Lake Tribune, lead researcher of the recent study, Dr. Jeffrey Anderson, qualified his findings, stating that:

“...it’s safe to build testosterone up to reasonable levels, as long as patients stop there.... going to a normal level, but not a super high level, would be the thing to do.”

While debate rages about the risks associated with testosterone use, an equally important debate continues regarding the appropriation population to be treated with testosterone. Testosterone therapy, administered by experienced medical professionals under clinical conditions for the treatment of specific, medically-recognized conditions may be beneficial to some patients suffering from those conditions. For example, another recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism indicates that men with Type-2 diabetes who also have low testosterone levels are at greater risk for developing atherosclerosis (popularly known as “hardening of the arteries”). Another indication is hypogonadism, in which the body fails to produce adequate amounts of the hormone.

However, testosterone has been marketed and used by millions of men who have no medical need for the drug. Rather, testosterone has been widely used by men only to counter the effects of aging. At the heart of testosterone lawsuits (such as one currently filed against Pfizer by a California man who suffered a stroke, allegedly from the use of the company's product Depo-Testosterone) are allegations that manufacturers have engaged in an aggressive and deceptive marketing campaign designed to convince normal, healthy, younger men of the need to “T it up” while minimizing the potential risks – risks of which these companies were well aware.

Testosterone lawsuits are going forward on grounds of failure to warn, breach of warranty, fraud, negligence, misrepresentation of facts and consumer law violations. One thing that cannot be rightfully disputed is that young and middle-aged men in good health have no need to take these supplements.