The lawsuits being filed across the country against the makers of testosterone drugs has painted a tragic picture of many otherwise healthy men who have suffered strokes or heart attacks after taking the medication.
In one case, a very healthy 47-year-old man in Seattle suffered a stroke, which he believes was brought on by the testosterone therapy via injections he had been taking. There were no other health indications for him. He didn’t even have high blood pressure – his blood pressure had always been normal, and he never had any heart-related problems. His family didn’t have any history of stroke or heart attack, either.
For the past five years before the stroke, he had been taking testosterone injections two times per month to treat hypogonadism.
Another man who suffered a stroke had also been taking testosterone via injection for about five years. This man ran marathons and he was also in great shape. He had low testosterone levels so he was getting a depo-testosterone shot twice a month.
After the first stroke, he continued with the testosterone therapy. Then he had another stroke – this time, the stroke paralyzed him on one side and left him unable to speak.
He didn’t know at the time that testosterone posed serious risks to someone with heart problems. This man’s wife, who is now his full-time caregiver, filed a testosterone claim against the drug makers. She is also considering a malpractice lawsuit against the hospital and the prescribing doctor, who did not know about the side effects of the drug they were prescribing.
A third patient’s family is suing the makers of AndroGel, on behalf of a man who used the drug until April 2012, when had a heart attack and died. His wife said he had no history of heart problems prior to the heart attack.
The second patient is an example of men whose doctors prescribed testosterone therapy even though they didn’t have hypogonadism. Hypogonadism is an endocrine disorder characterized by absent or deficient levels of testosterone. This is the approved use of testosterone by the FDA. A growing problem is the number of men who are given the drug but don’t have that underlying condition.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said that nearly 25 percent of all men prescribed testosterone replacement therapy did not have their testosterone levels tested before it was first prescribed, and 21 percent of men on the drug had not been lab tested during their treatment.
Time magazine predicts that the market for low testosterone, or “Low-T” therapy, will reach $5 billion by 2017.
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