Risks of Testosterone Replacement Therapy

happy man

Over 5 million prescriptions for testosterone gel or cream were written for men in America in 2011. This prescription has been used for years in Mississippi and other states to treat the age-related decline of healthy older men. However, more recently, doctors have been prescribing testosterone therapy to younger men at higher rates and men in general without measuring their hormones first.

One explanation for the rise in prescriptions is the amount of direct marketing that the makers of testosterone replacement therapy do. Some men get prescription testosterone after seeing an ad and asking their doctors to prescribe it for them. In the past, doctors would only prescribe testosterone to men for whom it was clear indicated.

Marketing given directly to the consumer suggests that this therapy can help men feel more energetic and sexually functional–but they do not mention the full costs of using this prescription. A man who is tested and has lower-than-normal testosterone levels may be prescribed a gel or cream or an injection. Unfortunately, he can end of up on supplements indefinitely because of how the hormone works.

While on the prescription, the body stops making testosterone. The man feels better but when trying to come off it again, his own biological production of the hormone can take a little while to recover.

A small number of men experience immediate negative side effects from testosterone replacement therapy, like acne or swollen ankles. Studies are mixed regarding the long-term effects. In 2010, a study found that, in men 65 years or older, there were greater cardiac side effects. Less was known about possible adverse side effects for middle-aged and younger men. After that, a meta-analysis was conducted of several small trials in mostly older men, which also suggested increased cardiovascular risk. Another study also found increased death and cardiovascular disease in men over 60. In these studies, there were not significant enough numbers of subjects to adequately evaluate the risks in younger men.

A recent medical study has indicated that unnecessary use of testosterone may lead to heart attacks and strokes in middle-aged men, too. Researchers looked at a large healthcare database of 55,000 medical records of men to evaluate whether testosterone replacement therapy increases the risk of acute non-fatal myocardial infarction, among other things. They compared non-fatal heart attack within 90 days after the first prescription with the rate of non-fatal heart attack 1 year before the first prescription.

The results were shocking. Men who were ages 65 and up had twice the risk of heart attacks in months after starting the drug. Those younger than 65 who had received a prior diagnosis of heart disease also had twice the risk. In January, the FDA agreed to take another look at the safety of testosterone replacement, but no conclusion has been reached.

In Mississippi, consumers may bring a product liability suit against manufacturers of dangerous drugs for failure to warn. If you were treated with testosterone replacement therapy and suffered a cardiovascular problem, you may be eligible to bring a lawsuit to recover damages for your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. Those who have lost a loved one who was using testosterone gel or injections and subsequently suffered a heart attack may have a wrongful death claim. There may also be medical negligence claims. The experienced personal injury lawyers of Coxwell & Associates are in the process of investigating heart and stroke cases. Contact us at (601) 265-7766 or via our online form to discuss your case.

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Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.

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