Recent Studies Warn Of The Fatal Effects Of Testosterone Supplements

Although highly touted in commercials as the "fountain of youth," studies show that testosterone supplementation can be a killer.

If you have watched television recently, you may have noticed several pharmaceutical advertisements of products named Androderm, Axiron, Fortesta, AndroGel and many other names that purport to help men suffering from low testosterone (or "low-t"). These products are touted as miracle cures for a wide variety of age-related ailments such as loss of libido, low sperm count, erectile dysfunction and loss of muscle development.

As a result of heavy advertisement, testosterone supplementation has become big business, increasing fivefold between 2000 and 2011. It is estimated that over 5.3 million prescriptions each year are written for testosterone gels, patches and injectables, adding billions of dollars in revenue to drug companies' bottom lines.

It is true that some men can benefit from testosterone supplementation. However, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), many men supplementing with testosterone can have fatal results, rather than the return of youth that they were hoping for.

The study focused on the effects of testosterone supplementation on the body's cardiovascular system. During the course of the study, 8,000 veterans with low testosterone levels were monitored. Some of the group received testosterone supplementation, while some did not. When the cardiovascular health of both groups was compared, researchers discovered that the group receiving supplementation was almost three times more likely to die from a heart attack or stroke after three years of supplementation than the other group, even when factors like age, medical history and blood pressure were taken into account.

Earlier this year, the grim findings of the study were confirmed in a separate study by UCLA. In this study, which involved 55,000 men, it was discovered that the risks of heart attacks doubled within 90 days of starting testosterone supplementation in men over 65.

After receiving numerous reports of blood clots caused by patients taking testosterone, the Food and Drug Administration recently announced that it was going to require drug companies to place a general warning about the danger of venous blood clots on the label. Additionally, the FDA also advised doctors to consider whether the benefits of testosterone treatment outweigh the risks.

Physician Shortcomings

Unfortunately, a recent study found that physicians do not always adequately consider the risk of testosterone supplementation before prescribing it to their patients. A separate JAMA study that uncovered evidence of medication errors, specifically that many men are receiving testosterone without a thorough examination. The study found that up to a quarter of men receiving supplementation received their prescriptions without first having a blood test to determine the level of testosterone in their blood.

In reality, experts say that many men complaining of symptoms such as low sex drive, fatigue and other symptoms that would indicate low testosterone could be candidates for more safe and effective treatments than testosterone supplementation. Many such symptoms can be caused by factors other than low testosterone, such as age or other medical conditions. However, as the JAMA study indicates, many physicians prescribe testosterone without sufficiently examining their patients and considering less dangerous alternatives.

Legal remedies for the injured

The glitzy commercials on television may imply that testosterone supplements are available from your doctor for the asking. However, the law requires physicians to give their patients thorough examinations and determine whether they would benefit from supplementation, given the risks involved. Unfortunately, many physicians fail in this duty because they attempt to maximize profits by seeing patients as quickly as possible, which gives them little time to accomplish this. In such cases, injured patients may recover compensation for their injuries in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Alternatively, if the patient dies because of the negligent treatment, the physician can be held liable by the deceased's family in a wrongful death action.

If a loved one has been killed or suffered a heart attack or stroke following testosterone supplementation, contact The Lawrence Law Firm, PSC. Our experienced medical malpractice attorneys can advise you further on your right to file a claim for damages against the physician responsible.

Keywords: testosterone, medical malpractice