Study: AndroGel May Increase Blood Clot Risk by up to 30%
Using testosterone boosters like AndroGel increases the risk of life-threatening heart complications by approximately 30% in middle-aged and older men, according to a November 2013 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). These side effects include AndroGel blood clots and stroke. The study’s authors reviewed thousands of TRT users and reached findings that should give pause to any man considering treatment with AndroGel. All of the participants, who had an average age of 60, were diagnosed with low testosterone levels and were undergoing coronary angiography, a procedure that measures changes in the heart.
The JAMA study and others have linked AndroGel testosterone therapy with:
- Stroke – When a blood clot reaches the brain and restricts the supply of oxygen
- Pulmonary embolism – Blood clot becomes stuck in the lungs
- Heart attack – Sudden and potentially deadly loss of blood flow in the heart
- Arrhythmia – Irregular heartbeat
- Transient ischemic attacks – Blood flow to part of the brain stops for a brief period of time
A cardiovascular event is deemed serious if:
- The patient died
- The patient’s condition could have resulted in death
- The cardiac event caused permanent damage
- The patient required hospitalization / surgery
How Can AndroGel Cause a Blood Clot?
“Replacing” a hormone the body makes naturally may not be the safest thing to do. In June 2014, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning which stated that testosterone supplements including AndroGel may cause potentially life-threatening blood clots in certain users.
Blood clots that develop in the veins (venous thromboembolism) come in 2 different forms. Deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot that develops in one of the body’s deep veins, most often in a leg. DVTs can make the affected leg swell or cause severe leg pain. If a DVT breaks away from the implant site and travels through the bloodstream, it can become trapped in the lungs, resulting in a pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis kill an estimated 180,000 people in the U.S. each year, more than the number of people who die from breast, prostate, colon, and skin cancers combined.
FDA had previously warned about the link between testosterone supplements and blood clots in users who had polycythemia. This condition occurs when the body makes too many red blood cells, which increases the risk of clotting. The latest warning was issued in response to reports of blood clots in men who did not have polycythemia.
AndroGel Blood Clot Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of a blood clot may include:
- Pain in the calf
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Coughing blood
Blood Clot Treatment
Depending on the location of the blood clot and the patient’s overall health, blood clots may be treated several different ways. If you’ve suffered any of the above symptoms, and feel you may have a blood clot, consult your physician immediately.
Over the past several years, there have been many scientific advances that have improved the ability to treat blood clots. These include:
- Anticoagulant Medications – Drugs that prevent blood from clotting
- Clot Busters – Drugs designed to dissolve blood clots
- Catheter-directed thrombolysis – Procedure in which a long, thin tube (catheter) is inserted and positioned toward the clot, where it delivers medicine that dissolves it
- Thrombectomy – surgery to remove the clot
If you are diagnosed with a blood clot after taking AndroGel, your doctor may refer you to a hematologist (doctor who specializes blood diseases). Patients with arterial disease who are at an increased risk for developing blood clots in their arteries may receive additional treatment from a cardiologist (heart specialist).
5 Ways to Prevent Blood Clots
- Avoid long periods of inactivity – If you have to sit for several hours or more at a time, take frequent breaks and make sure to get up and move around as much as possible. If you must remain seated, raise and lower your heels and toes to promote circulation. If you are a frequent traveler, be sure to drink plenty of fluids on long flights or car trips. Even when you’re sitting at a desk for as little as two hours, blood can pool up in your legs, increasing the risk for the development of a blood clot.
- Drink lots of water – Staying hydrated increases circulation while flushing out toxins that could increase your risk of blood clots. Drink enough water throughout the day so that your organs don’t have to struggle to produce energy and perform their functions. You don’t have to drink gallons, but you should drink water whenever you feel thirsty. Try drinking warm water, as cold water can close up and restrict the veins.
- Get your heart checked – Over 4 million men and women in the U.S. have an irregular heartbeat, also known as cardiac arrhythmia. However, the condition often goes undetected because, in a large number of cases, there are no accompanying symptoms. Irregular heartbeats can increase your risk of blood clots.
- Know the symptoms of a blood clot – Listen to your body and be aware of what it’s telling you. Swelling in the leg, leg pain, rapid or irregular heart rate, unexplained sweating, fatigue and feeling faint are some of the characteristic symptoms of a blood clot.
- Quit AndroGel Now – Recent studies have identified a significant increased risk (up to 30% or more) of severe cardiovascular side effects associated with the use of testosterone supplements like AndroGel. Therefore, discontinuing treatment with this product may drastically reduce your risk of developing a blood clot. But again, NEVER stop taking a prescription medication without consulting your physician first.
Although blood clots are the body’s natural defense mechanism to stop bleeding after an injury, life-threatening complications can occur when a clot becomes trapped in a vital organ and restricts blood flow. Minor complications may include discomfort and/or tenderness in the area of the body the clot is located. Major complications may occur when clots get stuck the lungs, brain, heart or kidneys. Any complication resulting from a blood clot should be treated as a medical emergency, and patients experiencing symptoms of a clot should call 9-1-1 immediately.
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) – Blood clot most commonly found in the thigh or leg. Complications resulting from a DVT include reduced blood flow and damage to vein walls. Symptoms of deep vein thrombosis include swelling and leg pain. If DVTs are not treated in a timely manner, veins, organs and vessels can be damaged as well.
- Pulmonary Embolism (PE) – Severe complication resulting from a blood clot. PE occurs when the pulmonary artery or one of its branches become blocked. In most cases, this is the result of a clot that develops in a vein and migrates to the lungs, blocking blood flow. It has been estimated that about one-third of people with pulmonary embolism are undiagnosed or untreated. Patients who have already had a pulmonary embolism in the past are at an increased risk of developing another one in the future.
- Stroke – When an AndroGel blood clot migrates to the brain, it can cause a stroke. These clots block blood flow to the brain, depriving brain tissues of the nutrients and oxygen they require to function properly. Strokes caused by a blood clot can result in memory loss, paralysis, numbness, pain, and problems with walking or talking. Lack of blood flow to the brain for just a minute or two causes cells to die, which may result in paralysis, permanent disability or even death.
- Heart Attack – Blood clots that become trapped in a coronary artery may result in a heart attack, blocking blood flow and causing damage to the heart muscle. Once a clot has migrated to the heart, complications such as leaky heart valves and abnormal heart rhythms can be deadly.
- Kidney Failure – The kidneys clean out waste and fluids from the body. Blood clots that get stuck in the kidneys can block or severely inhibit blood flow, which can cause kidney failure and the inability of the organ to remove waste products. Kidney problems can also cause high blood pressure.
First AndroGel Bellwether Ends in Mistrial
June 19, 2017 – The first attempt to hold AbbVie Inc. responsible for the side effects of AndroGel has ended in a mistrial after the lead plaintiff’s attorney suffered from heart problems. Court documents indicate that the man was hospitalized with heart complications on June 10 and underwent an unspecified procedure, but has since been released and is now recovering back home.
Do I Have an AndroGel Blood Clot Lawsuit?
The Pharmaceutical Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in AndroGel Lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new blood clot cases in all 50 states.
If you or a loved one suffered a blood clot after taking AndroGel, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and we can help.