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Recent Studies have linked certain Testosterone Replacement Drugs to an increased risk for heart attacks, strokes, and even death. Testosterone Injury Lawyer Andrew Sullo has taken the time to answer some of the more frequently asked questions pertaining to Testosterone and its possible risks and dangers. Our firm is currently accepting claims involving men who have suffered heart attacks, strokes, DVT, or pulmonary embolisms while taking prescription testosterone drugs.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a steroid sex hormone produced in men through a complex biochemical process. Testosterone is important for sexual and reproductive development, and although women produce testosterone as well, the hormone is produced at much lower levels. Testosterone in men is produced primarily in the testes, with the production of testosterone being controlled by the pituitary gland and the brain’s hypothalamus.
Why are Prescriptions for Testosterone Reaching All-Time Highs?
If you watch any television at all, you have likely heard the term “Low-T,” which refers to a decrease in testosterone among men—usually men over the age of 60 or so. These men may be experiencing “symptoms” of low testosterone such as an increase in belly fat, a decrease in muscle mass and strength, a decrease in energy and libido, and the desire for an occasional afternoon nap.
These symptoms also happen to be the body’s natural response to aging. A man’s testosterone peaks at age 18, staying relatively stable until their early 30’s. Testosterone then begins to decrease from 1-3% each year thereafter. In 2008, approximately 208 million prescriptions were issued for testosterone drugs, yet by 2013, over 432 million prescriptions were filled. It seems that men may be looking for a youth elixir to turn back the years, yet are overlooking some of the serious side effects associated with testosterone drugs.
Is Aggressive Testosterone Marketing Responsible?
Last year alone, American drug companies spent more than $3 billion on direct-to-consumer advertisements, touting testosterone drugs as a lifestyle product for men. This, despite the fact that the only proven use for testosterone replacement medications is to treat serious hormonal deficiencies caused by such medical issues as endocrine tumors or the side effects of chemotherapy. Most doctors believe the hype over testosterone drugs is unproven and potentially dangerous to men’s health and may be an invented condition that actually requires no treatment.
What Types of Testosterone are Available?
Testosterone supplements can be delivered by gel, cream, patch, injection, pill or implants and are marketed under such name brands as: Androgel, Androderm, Axirom, Bio-T-Gel, Delatestryl, Depo-Testosterone, Foresta, Striant, Testim and Testopel. Pfizer, Eli Lily Endo Pharmaceuticals, Columbia Labs, Slate Pharmaceuticals and Auxilium are some of the manufacturers of testosterone drugs.
What are the Potential Side Effects of Testosterone?
A testosterone overdose can cause symptoms such as: blurry vision, severe headache, a sudden inability to speak, seizures, blurred speech and weakness in the arms or legs or on one side of the body. Common side effects of testosterone are gum and mouth irritation, while less common side effects include: liver or kidney issues, unpleasant aftertaste, bleeding gums, breast enlargement or pain in the breasts, cough, anxiety, depression, difficulty breathing, dizziness, loss of appetite, lower back or side pain, loss of interest in life, paranoia, painful urination, shortness of breath, stomach pain, chest tightness, fatigue, insomnia and vomiting.
What are the Risks and Dangers of Testosterone?
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association followed more than 8,700 men with low testosterone levels who were given testosterone supplements. Cardiovascular risks were compared between the men in the study and a group of men in the same age range with low testosterone levels who did not take a testosterone drug. It was found that the men taking the testosterone supplements were almost 30% more likely to suffer a heart attack, stroke, or die than those who were not taking a supplement.
A second study was halted halfway through, due to the number of men taking the testosterone supplements who suffered a heart attack, stroke or death. In the JAMA study, 748 men died, 443 suffered a myocardial infarction and 519 suffered a stroke. There is a distinct lack of studies regarding the safety of testosterone, and the two studies noted did not distinguish between the route of administration of the drug (transdermal or oral delivery).
What Does the FDA Think About Testosterone Supplements?
Following the release of the JAMA study, the FDA has stated it will take a harder look at the potential side effects of testosterone supplements. On January 31, 2014, the FDA stated that while they cannot conclude that testosterone drugs pose a danger to men until further studies are completed, they are advising doctors to carefully consider the risks vs. benefits for each patient prior to prescribing testosterone supplements.
Do I Have a Case Against a Testosterone Manufacturer?
Lawsuits have already been filed against the manufacturer of Andro-Gel, and it is expected that many more will follow. Five men between the ages of 50 and 63 filed suit against Abbot Laboratories and Abb Vie, Inc, claiming the dangers of Andro-Gel were deliberately concealed. Three of the men allege they suffered a heart attack after using Andro-Gel, a fourth claims he had a stroke and the fifth alleges he suffered a mini-stroke after beginning Andro-Gel therapy. If you have had adverse health events after taking a testosterone drug, you may have a testosterone case.
How Can an Attorney Help Me If I’ve Been Harmed by a Testosterone Drug?
The Andro-Gel lawsuit claims Abbot deceived testosterone users by relaying positive information through the press which suggests a widespread need for testosterone supplements, at the same time downplaying the known adverse, sometimes serious or fatal, health risks. If you feel you have suffered injury after taking a testosterone drug, it could be in your best interests to contact a Sullo & Sullo attorney today who can thoroughly assess the facts of your adverse health issues and determine whether you should file a testosterone lawsuit.