Thanks to innovations in technology, medical science is constantly advancing at a rapid rate. While medical breakthroughs have allowed countless people to overcome illnesses, rebuild damaged limbs and organs, and enjoy a better quality of life, when medical treatments aren’t comprehensively tested and researched, they can cause or increase the risk for illness, injury, or even death.
Dangers of AndroGel and Testosterone Supplements
In 2012, AndroGel filled approximately three million prescriptions. In addition to the bestselling AndroGel, other testosterone supplements which have surged in popularity in recent years include:
Unfortunately, new research has indicated that there are serious AndroGel and hormone therapy health risks. A study recently published in medical journal PLoS ONE, published by the Public Library of Science, has found that for users of AndroGel and other testosterone supplements:
- Men 65 and older have a doubled risk for heart attack.
- Men 64 and younger have a tripled risk for heart attack.
Additionally, medical journal JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) has also published a study which contains alarming findings regarding the safety of AndroGel and similar products. According to the study published in JAMA, men who are 60 and older are 30% more likely to experience:
- Heart Attack
In 2010, NEJM (the New England Journal of Medicine) published yet another study warning of the dangers of testosterone therapy in men aged 65 years and older. This study, known as the TOM (Testosterone in Older Men) Trial, compared a control group of men taking placebo medication against a second ground of men taking testosterone supplements. In the TOM Trial, the men taking real testosterone supplements were 10 times more likely to experience heart problems than the men in the placebo group. The health risks were so severe that the supervising doctors ended the trial prematurely.
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is responsible for evaluating and regulating drugs in the United States. According to the FDA, in many cases, AndroGel and other hormone therapy products have not been appropriately prescribed.
Normally, products like AndroGel should be used for men who are suffering from a condition known as hypogonadism, which is associated with abnormally low testosterone levels. However, thanks to aggressive direct-to-consumer marketing spurring a dramatically increased demand, many recent AndroGel prescriptions were dispensed to men without the appropriate safety monitors and health evaluations which should have been observed. Because of this, millions of men are now at a drastically increased risk for stroke, heart attack, cardiac problems, and death.
To make matters worse, AndroGel is easily transmittable via skin-to-skin contact. This means that a gesture as simple as a handshake could invisibly transfer harmful AndroGel from one individual to another.
How Testosterone Causes Health Problems
AndroGel, AndroDerm, Axiron, and other testosterone products have been found to significantly increase the risk for extremely serious health complications, such as heart attack and stroke. What are the effects of these complications, and why does AndroGel cause them?
Testosterone is a hormone from the androgen group, which gives AndroGel and similar products their name. Testosterone is responsible for male characteristics such as increased body hair and muscle mass, and also helps to prevent osteoporosis (decreased bone density). When your testosterone levels are out of balance, there can be dire physical consequences.
Only men with below-normal testosterone levels should be given testosterone supplements. However, numerous prescriptions for AndroGel were written for men who were not necessarily suitable candidates for the product, resulting in high levels of testosterone. When you have too much testosterone, your risk for stroke and cardiac issues increases. Dr. Sidney Wolfe, who is the founder and senior adviser of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, has issued a press release containing the following statement:
“It is quite clear that testosterone treatment increases the risks of cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks.”
Dr. William Finkle, an epidemiologist at UCLA, explains why:
“Testosterone increases red blood cell production and red blood production can lead to cells that coagulate.”
When cells coagulate, or thicken, they can form dangerous blood clots which obstruct veins and arteries, leading to heart attack. Blood coagulation can also increase the risk for stroke.
Heart Attack and Stroke
While everyone knows that strokes and heart attacks are bad for your health, many people may not be aware of the symptoms and side effects caused by these dangerous events.
The symptoms of heart attack are different for men and women. In males, common heart attack symptoms and warnings include:
- Excessive sweating
- Feelings of heartburn
- Pressure in the chest area
- Pain or discomfort in the chest area
- Shortness of breath
After experiencing a heart attack, long-term complications can arise. Some common complications resulting from heart attack include:
- Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
- Cardiogenic shock (sudden drop in blood pressure)
- Damage to heart walls
Like cardiac arrest, stroke is also an extremely serious health event. The symptoms and warning signs of stroke include:
- Arm weakness or numbness
- Difficulty speaking
- Facial drooping
- Facial numbness
The American Stroke Association has even coined the acronym “FAST” for strokes: Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 9-1-1.
The effects of stroke can include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Memory loss
- Muscle paralysis
- Sleep apnea
- Vision loss
If you believe you or a loved one has been hurt by AndroGel or testosterone supplement use, you may be eligible to seek financial restitution to help compensate for the damages you have incurred. At the law offices of Reiff & Bily, our personal injury attorneys have over 34 years of experience practicing product liability litigation. Since 1979, we have obtained favorable settlements for thousands of clients, including settlements in excess of one million dollars.
To schedule a legal consultation with an aggressive and experienced personal injury lawyer, call the law offices of Reiff & Bily today at (215) 274-0072, or contact us online. Our consultations are always 100% confidential, and your initial consultation comes at no charge.