Testosterone Replacement Therapy Can Cause Dangerous Health Problems
Pharmaceutical products can do many things to improve the health of the people who need them. However, each pharmaceutical product has different risks, commonly referred to as side effects, associated with its use. Some side effects are experienced by many different types of people who use a particular product or treatment. However, sometimes side effects may be experienced by only a specific group of people. This means that while a treatment may be relatively safe for some people to use, it could be very dangerous for others.
One popular pharmaceutical product which poses a greater risk of harm to some users than it does to others is testosterone replacement therapy. You have probably heard of testosterone replacement therapy, and the condition that it is designed to remedy, “low-T.” Testosterone replacement therapy is available in several forms, including gels, patches, and injections. The products have names like AndroGel, Testim, Testopel, Androderm, and Fortesta. Many of these products are advertised on television, on the radio, and in popular men’s magazines.
Men with Heart Problems Face Particularly Serious Risks
There is something very important that you need to know about the risks associated with testosterone replacement therapy. In November of 2013, researchers found that men who have heart problems and use testosterone replacement therapy have a 30 percent greater chance of dying or of having a heart attack or stroke than similarly-aged men with heart problems who did not undergo said therapy. This particular study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, followed on the heels of a discontinued clinical trial of testosterone replacement therapy. The clinical trial had to be discontinued because too many of the participants were developing serious heart problems.
Many People are at Risk for Side Effects
Between 2000 and 2011, there was a five-fold increase in the rate at which testosterone replacement therapy was prescribed. In 2011, pharmacies filled 5.3 million prescriptions for testosterone replacement therapy. In 2013, 432 million prescriptions (including refills) for testosterone replacement therapy products were filled. It is estimated that around three percent of American men over the age of 40 are using some form of testosterone replacement therapy. While men with a history of heart problems experience an increased risk of serious medical complications and even death, all men who use testosterone replacement therapy run the risk of experiencing its side effects. Some of the things that any man who uses testosterone replacement therapy could experience are high cholesterol, increased arterial plaque, arterial blockage, diabetes, and obesity.
The Risks Outweigh the Benefits
Testosterone replacement therapy is often prescribed for men who ask their doctor about it. They may go to the doctor with a list of symptoms such as low libido, fatigue, brain fog, and depression. These conditions are all mentioned in the advertisements for testosterone replacement therapy as symptoms of a supposed medical condition called “low T.”
What the advertisements do not mention is that all of the symptoms of “low T” could be caused by other things. For example, brain fog could be caused by improper nutrition or chronic lack of sleep. Fatigue can be caused by excessive work or exercise, improper nutrition, or other medical conditions which are not associated with low testosterone. The carefully crafted messages that are used by the manufacturers of testosterone replacement therapy paint a picture of a “medical condition” that is made up of things that most middle-aged men experience from time to time. The advertisements for testosterone replacement therapy contain promises of increased energy, mental focus, libido, and strength, as well as an improved mood for men who use the products. As a result, many men who see or hear the advertisements wonder whether they suffer from “low T.” The men then ask their doctors about testosterone replacement therapy.
Unfortunately, many doctors are quick to prescribe testosterone replacement therapy. Some of them even do so without checking the patients’ testosterone levels first to determine whether their testosterone level is the most likely cause of the symptoms that they are experiencing. It is important to note that FDA approval of testosterone replacement therapy is limited to situations where the patient actually has a low level of testosterone and also has no potentially complicating health conditions.
Seeking testosterone replacement therapy without being tested for low testosterone could prevent men from getting proper medical care for the symptoms that they are experiencing. For example, depression can lower a man’s testosterone level. While depression may sometimes be alleviated by raising testosterone levels, testosterone levels can also rise following the treatment of depression with psychotherapy or antidepressants. Obesity can reduce libido and contribute to low energy levels in men whose testosterone levels are normal.
Claims are Being Pursued Against Testosterone Replacement Manufacturers
If you have experienced health problems or someone that you love has died as a result of complications arising from the use of testosterone replacement therapy, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the product that you used. Some lawsuits have already been filed by plaintiffs who have suffered heart attacks and other injuries while using AndroGel and other testosterone replacement products.
There are also lawsuits which are being pursued from a products liability standpoint. In February of 2014, five suits were filed in Illinois Federal Court against AbbVie Inc. and Abbott Laboratories, Inc., the manufacturers of AndroGel. Some of these lawsuits are based upon claims that the manufacturers concealed facts about the potential side effects of AndroGel. Other suits allege that the manufacturers of testosterone replacement therapy products did not do sufficient research to assess the risks of stroke or heart attack to men with cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, blocked arteries, diabetes, obesity, or other preexisting heart problems. A third type of claim is based upon the methods and content of marketing materials for testosterone replacement therapy products, because they encourage men who are experiencing normal symptoms of middle age to seek out prescription medications that they do not need.
Choosing the Right Attorney
If you believe that you may have a claim against the manufacturer of a testosterone replacement therapy product, you need the help of an attorney who specializes in personal injury, medical malpractice, product liability, and wrongful death. Call the experienced attorneys at Porter & Malouf, P.A. today at (601) 957-1173 to schedule a free and confidential consultation about your testosterone replacement therapy claim. We can help you to understand your options, and to pursue your claim if you decide to do so. We strive to provide the high quality legal representation that you need and give you the best chance at securing the recovery that you deserve.