Androgel: Is it worth the cardiovascular risk?
Low testosterone is a fairly common problem for many men after the age of thirty. As a man begins to lose testosterone, he can experience a number of serious health problems such as depression, a decreased libido, erections which are less pleasurable, low energy levels and decreased endurance. Testosterone gels or testosterone supplements are often a remedy to low testosterone, however physicians also prescribe prescription medications to alleviate symptoms. One such drug, Androgel, has recently been found to increase the risk of testosterone stroke and testosterone heart attack. Although Androgel warns of potential side effects in its literature and on its label, inclusive of high blood pressure, blood clots in the legs and other “serious problems” for persons with heart, kidney or liver disease, the actual risk of this drug includes testosterone death.
In November of 2013, the Journal of the American Medical Association published an article linking Androgel with testosterone death as well as other serious side effects. Prescriptions for low testosterone rose from 208 million in 2008 to over 432 million (including refills) in 2013. In 2011, testosterone therapy was a $1.6 billion business. Although the drug did enjoy some success in improving men’s sexual function, bone density, strength and lean muscle mass, as well as lowering cholesterol and insulin resistance, men who used the drug were found to be thirty percent more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke or die within a three-year period than men with low hormone levels who didn’t take supplements in the 2013 Journal of American Medical Association study. The men in this study averaged 60 years of age and most had other health problems. In contrast, most studies funded by pharmaceutical companies concluded no increased risk of cardiovascular problems associated with testosterone drugs.
Whether you believe the Journal of American Medical Association study or the pharmaceutical company studies, five Androgel lawsuits have been filed in the Illinois federal court against the manufacturers AbbVie Inc., and Abbott Laboratories, Inc., claiming the actual risk of serious side effects associated with the drug were not disclosed and concealed by the manufacturers. One plaintiff claims he suffered a heart attack, as well as other physical and emotional damages after taking the drug. The five lawsuits were filed only days after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) disclosed an investigation regarding the cardiovascular risks of the drug in an alert on January 31, 2014.
If you or a loved one has suffered a heart attack or stroke after taking the drug Androgel, please contact an attorney who handles mass tort claims to have your claim evaluated.