It was announced last week that Stephen Nichols, of Fort Collins CO, is planning to sue Abbott Laboratories subsidiary AbbVie, the manufacturer of the popular testosterone treatment AndroGel. Nichols joins the growing number of suits being filed against the makers of AndroGel including ones already filed in Illinois and Lousiana.
Nichols suffered a heart attack after he was prescribed AndroGel to treat low testosterone. It was only after the heart attack that he learned the FDA is investigating the safety of testosterone treatments. Recent studies have also linked the treatments to an increased risk of strokes, heart attack and death.
But even with the FDA investigation and studies linking testosterone treatment to health dangers, Low-T clinics are spring up across the nation. Turn on the television and be prepared for a barrage of ads warning men against the dreaded “Low-T.” Many health professionals consider Low-T” to made-up disease, used to scare men into taking testosterone supplements. According to the marketing Low-T is characterized by feelings of fatigue, loss of sexual drive, depressed moods, and an increase in body fat and decrease in muscle strength, among other symptoms – all common problems associated with aging. As a result millions of American men have begun resorting to testosterone drugs as lifestyle drugs out of simple reluctance to accept the fact that they are getting older.
What the television advertisements for Low-T never mention is that often there are complex medical problems that masquerade as low energy and decreased sex drive. Those can include sleep apnea, depression and, heart disease.
There have been calls for closer scrutiny of testosterone treatments yet Low-T clinics continue to draw thousands. The drug companies are waging an all out media blitz to convince American men they need to be treated for Low-T, and it is working. Sales of Low -T drugs have tripled in the last ten years.
There are valid medical reasons to prescribe testosterone treatment, but the supposed “Low-T” isn’t one of them. It is a marketing tool the drug companies have created and continue to use with great effect. In spite of the dangers, they still continue to place their profit margin above the health of the patients they serve.