Marketed as a veritable fountain of youth to restore vigor and libido the advertisements push Food and Drug Administration-approved testosterone medications such as AndroGel, Androderm, Axirom, Bio-T-Gel, Delatestry, Depo-Testosterone, Fortesta, Striant, Testim and Testopel.
It’s a big business. Bloomberg News reports that the market for testosterone-replacing drugs is worth $1.6 billion and that prescriptions for the supplements rose more than fivefold to 5.3 million in 2011 from 2000.
Bloomberg said the products are only FDA-approved for men who lack or have low testosterone levels in conjunction with a medical condition.
But, according to Low-T lawsuits that have been filed in state and federal courts across the country and recent medical research studies in the medications these drugs also come with some serious risks.
These studies and articles in major media across the country are detailing serious heart attack risks connected with the use of these medications, particularly among men with a history of heart disease.
In addition, there are concerns that many men who are being prescribed the drugs do not have low testosterone but are using the medications to treat the normal symptoms of aging.
The risks were highlighted in one study released in late 2013 involving more than 8,000 men treated by the Veterans Health Administration. The findings were startling: Low-T therapy medications increased the patients’ risk of suffering a heart attack, stroke and dying by 29 percent over patients who did not use the medications.
Typical of the Low-T lawsuits that have been filed in recent months are five filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago Five against Abbott Laboratories and AbbVie Inc., the company it spun off last year in which the men claimed that they were not warned about the dangers of heart attacks from the use of the medications.
The men accuse the drugmakers of concealing the dangers of the Low-T replacement drug AndroGel, claiming in their court filings that they suffered life-threatening heart problems that they attribute to their use of AndroGel.
Bloomberg News provided the following details of the lawsuits:
“The men range in age from 50 to 63, according to their complaints. Three claim they had heart attacks after they started using AndroGel, and a fourth said he had a stroke. The fifth man said he had a mini-stroke.
“Abbott and AbbVie ‘deceived potential AndroGel users by relaying positive information through the press, including testimonials from retired professional athletes’ and statistics suggesting a widespread need for the drugs, ‘while downplaying known adverse and serious health risks,’ according to the complaints.
“The men accuse Abbott, which marketed the drug from 2010 through 2012, and prescription drug-maker AbbVie of concealing knowledge that AndroGel had a ‘serious propensity’ to harm.”