As of September 15, 2015, there were 2,477 lawsuits sitting in the testosterone therapy multi-district litigation. This was a drastic increase since June 2015, when there were 1,768 lawsuits sitting in the MDL.
You’ve seen the ads. Commercials promising a cure for the many symptoms of low testosterone levels, from mood swings and fatigue to erectile dysfunction and decreased sex drive. These commercials encourage men to go to their doctors and ask for testosterone replacement therapies. Unfortunately, many of these testosterone gels, patches, creams and injections are also causing serious health events including heart attacks, strokes, blood clots and even wrongful death. Estey Bomberger is currently screening testosterone treatment lawsuits and reviewing potential cases.
What is Low T?
“Low T” is used to describe hypogonadism, a condition where the body does not produce high enough levels of testosterone. Testosterone is the hormone responsible for masculine growth and development during puberty. Some people are born with Low T (hereditary), and others develop the condition later in life due to injury or infection. Symptoms of Low T include fatigue, decreased sex drive, body hair and muscle mass, infertility, and erectile dysfunction. Low T can be diagnosed through a blood test.
Is Testosterone Therapy Big Business or Necessary Care?
The surge in prescriptions is mainly due to aggressive direct-to-consumer advertising by the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture testosterone treatments. Although off-label marketing is illegal, doctors frequently prescribe testosterone treatment off-label to help men build muscle mass, improve sex drive and strengthen bone density. With testosterone therapy clinics popping up around the country, it’s easier than ever for men to be treated for low testosterone. Interestingly, the FDA reports that 20 percent of men who received a prescription for low T did not have their testosterone levels measured in a blood test (Fox News, September 2014).
Testosterone therapy has increased dramatically in the last two decades, along with skyrocketing numbers of men being diagnosed with Low T. The benefits are enticing – therapies promise countless benefits for aging men, including less body fat, increased muscle, improved sexual function, and better mood. Nature Review Endocrinology reported prescription sales of testosterone nationally reached $1.6 billion in 2011, up from about $18 million in 1988, according to a June 2013 article in USA Today. Chicagobusiness.com reported in September 2014 that use of testosterone products almost doubled in 2013 from 2010. Sales are expected to triple to $5 billion by 2017, according to Global Indstry Analysts.
Catastrophic Side Effects
What is now happening and is very concerning is men (who in some cases may not “need” to be treated for low T) are experiencing serious injuries such as heart attack, stroke, blood clot or even death following the use of Low T drugs including AndroGel, AndroDerm, Axiron, Testim and others. Experts also warn about protlems that may occur when taken by men who don’t need it. Edmund Sabanegh, chairman of urology at the Cleveland Clinic, warned that testosterone can increase the growth of prostate tumors and cause blood clots, infertility and liver damage. Historically, hormone replacement therapy can be dangerous.
Testosterone Replacement Therapies
Testosterone therapy is a multi-billion dollar market each year. Men who have suffered harmful side effects while taking testosterone treatments may qualify to receive compensation in a lawsuit. We are currently evaluating potential claims involving the following treatments:
AndroGel: Probably the most widely marketed testosterone replacement therapy is AndroGel, first approved by the FDA in 2000. Last year, manufacturer AbbViee reported $1.04 billion in sales of Androgel.
Androderm: Manufactured by Actavis, Inc. (formerly Watson Pharmaceuticals), Androderm delivers 2 or 4 mg of testosterone in a transdermal skin patch.
Axiron: Eli Lilly’s testosterone gel is applied to the armpits similar to a deodorant.
Depo-Testosterone: Introduced by Pfizer in 2003, this is an injectible intramuscular agent.
Foresta: Manufactured by Endo Pharmaceuticals and FDA approved in December 2010, Foresta is a testosterone spray gel that is applied to the front and inner thighs daily.
Striant: Made by Columbia Laboratories Inc. and approved by the FDA in June 2003, Striant is a tablet-shaped patch containing 30 mg of testosterone that slowly releases testosterone into the mucous membranes of the upper gum of the mouth through a buccal system.
Testim: Manufactured by Auxilium and FDA approved in 2002, Testim is a gel that is applied to the shoulders daily.
Testopel: Manufactured by Slate Pharmaceuticals and FDA approved in 2008, Testopel is an under the skin implant containing 75 mg of testatsteron that releases the hormone over a period of 3 to 6 months.
30% Increased Risk of Heart Attack?
A study published in the November 2013 Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) found that in the first 90 days after a man begins testosterone therapy, he is nearly 30% more likely to have a heart attack. Another study reached a similar conclusion – A 2010 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found higher rates of cardiac, respiratory and skin problems among men over 65 using testosterone gel compare with those taking a placebo. Another study published in the journal PloS One, conducted at UCLA and involving 55,000 men, revealed that the risk for heart attack doubles in men over 65 years of age within the first 90 days of taking testosterone. (See CBS News).
A Lifetime Commitment
According to several doctors, testosterone therapy is a lifetime commitment. Once it is started, it suppresses men’s own production of testosterone. This makes prescribers dependant on a product that may potentially be severely damaging to their health.
FDA Investigating Heart Attack, Stroke and Death in Men Taking Low T Therapies
The 2013 JAMA study raised serious concerns about testosterone treatments. The FDA announced on January 31, 2014 that it would investigate the risk of heart attack, stroke in death in men taking prescription testosterone therapies. Although the FDA has not yet reached any conclusion that testosterone therapies increase the risk of cardiac events or death, they did advise that “health care professionals should consider whether the benefits of FDA-approved testosterone treatment is likely to exceed the potential risks of treatment. “ It is expected that in the coming months and years, hundreds if not thousands of testosterone lawsuits will be filed.
No Fee Unless You Win
At Estey Bomberger, all cases are handled under a contingency fee agreement. Our clients pay no upfront fees or expenses. We are only paid if we successfully obtain a settlement or verdict for your case. Call us today to discuss your potential case.