The University of North Texas Health Science Center issued a press release on April 2, 2014, stating that testosterone replacement drugs such as AndroGel, Androderm, Axiron, and Testim can cause brain damage in Caucasian men, but not in Mexican-American men. The University released its findings in the April issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Testosterone replacement drugs have already been linked to heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots, but this is the first time a study has shown that brain damage is another serious risk of testosterone therapy, and that the risk depends on ethnicity.
The key risk factor is the patient’s oxidative stress level, something a doctor can determine with a blood test. The study found that Caucasian men with a high oxidative stress level had an increased risk for brain damage. However, Mexican-American men did not share this risk, possibly because of natural antioxidants in their blood that protect the brain.
This is the third study in a year that raises questions about the safety of drugs used to treat “Low T”, as it is commonly advertised. In January, the FDA announced it would be investigating testosterone replacement drugs for the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death after two separate studies found significantly increased risks in some test subjects. One of those studies, the accuracy of which is the subject of hot debate, found that testosterone replacement drugs increase the risk of heart attack in men by 50%.
Lawsuits have already been filed against the manufacturers of AndroGel, Androderm, Axiron, and Testim by men claiming their testosterone replacement drug therapy caused heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots. Time will tell if this new research leads to additional lawsuits by men claiming they suffered brain damage as a result of undergoing testosterone replacement drug therapy. One thing is certain: testosterone replacement drugs are not the perfectly simple solution to aging that many men hoped they would be.