Drug companies are pushing that new-man feeling Low T, high stakes

Recommended by Dr. Michael White, Published on January 16th, 2014
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Axiron, an underarm gel that rolls on like deodorant, is one drug used by men struggling with symptoms of growing older associated with low testosterone such as poor sex drive, weight gain and fatigue. It's one of a growing number of prescription gels, patches and injections aimed at boosting levels of the male hormone that begins to decline in men after about age 40. (AP Photo/Eli Lilly & Co.)AP

January 16, 2014 12:00 AM

By NATASHA SINGER

The New York Times News Service

One afternoon a few months ago, a 45-year-old sales representative named Mike called "The Dr. Harry Fisch Show," a men's health program on Sirius XM Radio, where no male medical or sexual issue goes unexplored.

"I feel like a 70-year-old man in a 45-year-old body," Mike, from Vancouver, British Columbia, told Fisch on the live broadcast. "I want to feel good. I don't want to feel tired all day."

A regular listener, Mike had heard Fisch, a New York urologist, talk about a phenomenon called "low testosterone" or "low T." Fisch likes to say that a man's testosterone level is "the dipstick" of his health; he regularly appears on programs like "CBS This Morning" to talk about the malaise that may coincide with low testosterone. He is also the medical expert featured on IsItLowT.com, an informational website sponsored by AbbVie, the drugmaker behind AndroGel, the best-selling prescription testosterone gel.

Like many men who have seen that site or commercials or online quizzes about "low T," Mike suspected that diminished testosterone was the cause of his lethargy. And he hoped, as the marketing campaigns seem to suggest, that taking a prescription testosterone drug would make him feel more energetic. Mike also said he had diabetes and high blood pressure and was 40 pounds overweight.

Fisch explained that conditions like obesity might be accompanied by decreased testosterone and energy, and he urged Mike to exercise more and to lose weight. But if Mike had trouble overhauling his diet and exercise habits, Fisch said, taking testosterone might give him the boost he needed to do so.

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Drug companies are pushing that new-man feeling Low T, high stakes

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