In the year 2000, an estimated half a million men began using hormone replacement therapy to address low testosterone levels. Today, four times as many men are taking these drugs, with sales of the products reaching several billion dollars. Unfortunately, the use of testosterone products has since been linked to various dangerous and harmful side effects, including heart attack and even death. Many victims are now pursuing legal action as a result.
Why Patients Use Testosterone Therapy Products
Testosterone therapies typically fall into two different categories. The first are known as bioidentical hormones, meaning scientists create the hormones in a lab so that they chemically match the hormones naturally made by the human body. The other type of hormone therapy drugs are known as synthetic hormones. These hormones are altered from their original chemical makeup, and do not match the hormones made by the body as a result. Testosterone therapies have been used for various reasons, including the following:
- To address low testosterone in men
- To treat erectile dysfunction
- To address loss of sex drive
- To treat fatigue
- To enhance physical performance by increasing muscle mass and strength as well as improve recovery time
- To treat osteoporosis
- To address the loss of muscle mass and coordination
For many individuals, the amount of testosterone naturally made by the body starts to decrease around age 40. Some turn to various skin patches, gels, creams, or injections as a result. Most patients require lifelong treatment and regular monitoring by a physician.
Harmful Side Effects Associated With Testosterone Therapy Use
Unfortunately, the use of testosterone therapies can have many undesirable side effects. The potential harm that may be caused by using these drugs include the following:
- Worsening of sleep apnea
- Prostate cancer
- Hormonal imbalances
- High levels of red blood cells
- Heart attack
Several recent studies have demonstrated a significant increase in the risk of heart attack among men who use testosterone therapy. The risk is so high that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was prompted in January 2014 to issue a statement that it would begin an investigation.
Potential Harm to Women and Children Caused by Testosterone Therapies
Perhaps surprisingly to some, the risks associated with these dangerous drugs are not limited to men. Testosterone is a hormone that is present in all humans, not just males. When a female’s testosterone level drops to lower than normal levels, it can impact certain aspects of her overall health and well-being. Some women choose to use testosterone therapies as a result. Harmful side effects associated with testosterone use by women include:
- Hair growth on the face or body
- Hair loss on the scalp
- Oily skin
- Hoarseness or deepening of the voice
- Fluid retention
- Diminished breast size
- Increased clitoris size
- Abnormal fetal development in women who are pregnant
In addition, women, children, and others can be accidentally exposed to testosterone therapies, putting them at risk. This typically happens when a family member comes in contact with skin that has been treated with testosterone gels or other topical products. Exposure can also occur as a result of leftover gel on unwashed clothes or towels.
Sadly, many of the patients who have used these products feel that they were not properly warned of the risks before beginning treatment. Several are now pursuing lawsuits against the makers of testosterone therapy products, including Abbott, AbbVie, Auxilium Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer, and Pharmacia & Upjohn. If you or a loved one used testosterone therapies and suffered harm as a result, we can help you protect your legal rights. We encourage you to contact us today to begin the process at 855-947-0707.