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Risks Involved in Testosterone Replacement Therapy

A recent article in the Herald-Review features a question and answer series between readers and a doctor who works with the media outlet. The main question asked in the latest issue involved the risks of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).   The reader who asks the question is a 62-year-old man who is currently receiving testosterone replacement injections on a weekly basis.

medical-instruments-3-1033916-mThe man said he has blood tests performed more than twice a year and, each time, all of his blood work comes back normal. He said he has no noticeable side effects from the testosterone hormone injections, but his temper is much shorter than it has ever been before. He said his doctor told him he is on Arimidex to lower his estrogen levels, and that testosterone injections are not harmful to him in terms of dangerous side effects. This reader said he wants another opinion, because he is fearful that TRT may cause a stroke.

In response to his inquiry, the doctor said TRT is only appropriate for men who have very low testosterone levels and have symptoms of extremely low testosterone production.   Some of these symptoms, as the drug companies like to claim, are reduced sex drive, depression, and reduced energy levels. However, this doctor also says it is judgment call that your physician should be making.   He said testosterone therapy is not appropriate for patients with low levels who are not suffering any symptoms.   He also discussed the interaction between estrogen levels and testosterone hormone in older men. He said the relationship is not well understood.

As our Boston testosterone replacement injury attorneys can explain, there is often no judgment that goes into the decision as to whether to put a patient on testosterone replacement therapy. The reason for this is because most patients do not go to their doctor, as many doctors are reluctant to prescribe testosterone replacement hormone, because there is not medical evidence it actually helps most men, and it known to cause stroke and heart attack. Instead of going to their regular doctor, most men go to what is called a “Low T” clinic for testosterone replacement therapy. These clinics are known to just ask patients what their symptoms are and then provide the drug without even doing any blood work. The reason is because they are not using the drug for its intended and FDA-approved purpose of treating hypogonadism. Hypogonadism is a rare disease that is diagnosed by an extremely low testosterone level.

What the drug companies are essentially doing is getting the Low T clinics prescribe hormone therapy for an off-label use. This is allowed, if they are basing their decision to treat on symptoms alone. They would not able to do this if they actually took blood samples and determined the patient did not have hypogonadism.   This is a loophole in the drug prescription guidelines, and the drug companies are exploiting this for all it’s worth at the expense of millions of men who may become very sick or possibly die as result of taking medicine that they don’t need and doesn’t even work.

Call the Boston Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:

Dear Dr. Roach: Is testosterone therapy worth the risk for men?, September 28, 2015, By Dr. heithl Roach
More Blog Entries:
FDA Announces Testosterone Meds Must Carry Broader Warning, July 7, 2014, Boston Products Liability Lawyers Blog