Cardiac arrest describes the cessation of functional blood circulation in the heart resulting from a failure to contract effectively. It is one of several conditions addressed in lawsuits resulting from the use of testosterone products. Coronary artery disease (CAD) — the most common form of heart disease — has been prominently cited in such cases. CAD results from the hardening and narrowing of arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. This buildup, called atherosclerosis, disallows the heart from receiving the blood and oxygen it needs, which can lead to chest pain and heart attack.
Heart attacks are one of the most prevalent risks associated with testosterone treatments. For men both older and younger than 65 with a history of heart disease, a two- to threefold increase in the chance of a heart attack has been shown. A heart attack, also called myocardial infarction (MI), occurs when the flow of blood through a coronary artery is blocked, resulting in the heart muscle being damaged or destroyed.
Stroke is another side effect tied to the use of testosterone therapy. Testosterone therapies can raise the red blood cell count, which can cause the blood to thicken and become more likely to clot. A stroke is a serious medical emergency in which blood supply to the brain is reduced or interrupted. Within minutes of the brain tissue being deprived of oxygen, brain cells begin to die.
Pulmonary embolism is another serious side effect associated with treatments for low testosterone. This occurs when there is blockage in the lung’s main artery, generally resulting from a blood clot in deep veins in the pelvis or legs. Similar to stroke, it may result from a raised red blood cell count.
Beyond these conditions, there is also ongoing dialogue about the increased risk of prostate cancer in connection with testosterone therapy. Although the connection has not been uniformly studied or proven, it is recommended that prostate cancer be excluded before beginning testosterone treatment, and that men older than 40 be closely monitored within year one of treatment.
AndroGel, which has been the focus of several lawsuits, has been noted for such common side effects as dizziness, hair loss, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, acne, change in sexual desire, and change in skin color or redness and swelling of skin.
Other side effects, both serious and less serious, include blistering of the skin, problems urinating, stomach pain, jaundice, headache, depressed mood, frequent or prolonged erections, swelling of the feet and/or ankles, itching, and breast swelling or tenderness.
Swelling of the throat, tongue, lips or face; difficulty breathing; and hives may indicate an allergic reaction.
Sleep apnea — a chronic sleeping disorder in which a person’s breathing becomes shallow and infrequent — is another condition that may arise from or by exacerbated by the use of Low-T treatment.