According to the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA, November 6, 2013), 2.9 percent, or 5.3 million men in the US, aged 40 years and older have been prescribed prescription testosterone to improve their sexual function, strength and well-being.
The topical gels such as AndroGel, Axiron and Androderm are being prescribed for a condition that has become known as Low-T. One the most popular testosterone gels, AndroGel, manufactured by AbbVie, generated over $2 billion in sales in 2012, and is expected to double that by 2017, according to the New York Times (October 15, 2013).
However, these easily available topical gels are coming under scrutiny after an increasing number of users developed serious cardiovascular problems; and at least two scientific studies found an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and clotting events in men using prescription testosterone gels.
“We see men from about age 40 up to age 70 who are taking products mostly because they have seen the television advertising,” says Florida attorney Brandon Bogle. “They go into their doctor’s office complaining of the suggested symptoms like irritability and lack of sex drive like you see in the commercials. If their testosterone levels are in the low range, then a doctor will prescribe one of these drugs.”
And it's not just doctor's offices. With places cropping up all over--such as Low T testing centers--it's entirely too easy for men to walk into a testosterone center in Dallas or New Orleans or any other US city in search of testosterone therapy.
A study published in PLOS One, in January 2014, found that testosterone therapy doubled the risk of heart attack in men over the age of 65. An earlier study in JAMA (November 6, 2013) looked at a group of men in the Veterans Affairs health care system and found that “the use of testosterone therapy was associated with increased risk of adverse outcomes” like heart attack and stroke.
However, a 2013 study in the Journal of Clinical Practice reported that the testosterone therapy actually resulted in lower blood pressure, lower sugar levels and cholesterol levels.
Bogle’s firm, Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor, is at the forefront of the coming litigation against the makes of AndroGel, Axiron and Androderm.
“We’ve seen many cases involving very serious cardiovascular problems,” says Bogle.
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“This is just the beginning of the litigation,” says Bogle. “It will be quite a while before we get to court.”
Attorney Bogle will be speaking on testosterone litigation issues at the Mass Torts Made Perfect Conference in Las Vegas in April 2014.
Brandon L. Bogle is an associate at the law firm of Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor, and a graduate of the Florida State University College of Law. Before joining the firm, Brandon Bogle was an Assistant Public Defender in the state of Florida. His practice now focuses on mass torts, criminal law and single personal injury cases.