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Risks and Benefits of Testosterone Replacement Therapy

A recent news article from Fox News Health discusses several factors they believe every man should know before he decides to take testosterone replacement therapy hormone. The article begins with the story of one patient to who went to his doctor complaining of what doctors generally consider the normal symptoms of the male aging process.

woman in hospitalThis patient was having trouble getting and maintaining an erection, and this was causing him understandable frustration.  In fact, this is one of the main focuses of the abundance of testosterone replacement ads put in magazines and on television by the pharmaceutical industry. His doctor diagnosed him with low testosterone and put him on testosterone replacement replacement therapy. Patient reports he is feeling better and having fewer of the problems he was having before taking the hormone.

While this therapy, at least in the short term, provided a good result for this patient, as our Boston testosterone injury lawyers have seen in far too many case, stories like this do no always turn out so well.  The reason for this is because testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) drugs can result in an increased risk of heart disease, including heart attacks and strokes.

As noted in this article, while the therapy can work, many believe that doctors are seriously overprescribing testosterone hormone to men who do not need it.  The first thing that should be done whenever some is considering taking testosterone replacement therapy drugs is to make sure that their doctor performs two blood tests.  Both tests should be taken within hours of waking up and on separate days.  The reason for the two tests is because testosterone levels will often vary widely from day to day, so it is important to make sure that you are getting a consistent low level.

This issue is compounded by the fact that not only aren’t some men getting two blood tests before taking testosterone hormone, many men aren’t even getting any blood tests.  The reason for this is because the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved testosterone hormone for patients who have a medical condition known as hypogonadism. This is a relatively rare hormone disorder that is characterized by a very low testosterone level to the point where it affects development.  This was the reason TRT was approved in the 1970s, and it is still the only reason it can be prescribed on label.

However, if a doctor is treating based upon symptoms alone, without a blood test, he or she can prescribe TRT for an off-label use pursuant to a loophole in FDA regulations.  This is the main reason why testosterone is prescribed at so-called Low T clinics and why most men are not having one, let alone two, blood tests to confirm a low testosterone level.

Another thing mentioned in the article is that there are side effects to taking testosterone.  While we have already discussed the increased risk of heart attack and stroke due to an increase in a patient’s hemoglobin level, it can also cause a man to grow breasts.

If you are the victim of Massachusetts product liability, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:

9 things men should know about testosterone replacement therapy, November 9, 2016, By Julie Revelant, Fox News Health

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