Jerry says that he has never had any cardiovascular issues and there is no history of stroke or heart attack in his family. “Even my blood pressure is normal, and my doctor also can’t understand why it had not elevated to dangerous levels,” he adds. For the past five years Jerry has been getting testosterone injections twice a month to help treat his condition - testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is typically prescribed to men who don’t have enough sex hormones in the body due to a problem in the gonads. “I don’t want to stop taking TRT because I’m afraid that I’ll suffer sexual dysfunction and libido problems, but if I keep taking it, I might wind up dead.”
Patrick, Deidre’s husband, and Jerry have a few things in common. He is just a few years older than Jerry; he took testosterone shots for about five years, was in top shape (he ran marathons) and he suffered a stroke. He continued with TRT up until last year, when he suffered another stroke. Unlike Jerry, Patrick’s second stroke left him paralyzed on one side and he is unable to speak. “Pat was getting depo-testosterone injections at the Veteran’s Clinic twice a month after the VA doctor told him that his testosterone level was low,” says Deirdre. “After Pat had the stroke, we found out from his neurologist that you don’t give testosterone to someone with a bad heart. I firmly believe that Pat would be healthy today if he stopped taking the injections after his first stroke. This drug has ruined both our lives because I am now his full-time caregiver. I’m certainly not looking forward to our ‘golden years.’”
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Unlike Jerry, Patrick doesn’t have hypogonadism. Unfortunately - and like thousands of men - Patrick just wanted to boost his sex drive. Some men take TRT to combat fatigue or to lose the “spare tire” around the waistline. According to the FDA Drug Safety Communication (January 31, 2014), however, all testosterone replacement therapies, including Depo-testosterone and AndroGel, are only approved for use in patients diagnosed with hypogonadism.
The FDA’s Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee is scheduled to discuss testosterone therapy issues on September 17, 2014. According to Time magazine (July 31, 2014), the market for low-testosterone, or Low-T, therapy is projected to reach $5 billion by 2017.