FDA approves long-acting testosterone drug amid controversy

Recommended by Dr. Michael White, Updated on October 13th, 2020
Reading Time: 2 minutes

WASHINGTON -- Drugmaker Endo Pharmaceuticals announced Thursday that it received U.S. approval from the Food and Drug Administration for its long-acting testosterone injection Aveed, which joins a crowded field of hormone-boosting drugs aimed at aging American men.

The Irish drugmaker said the FDA approved Aveed for men with low testosterone, a condition sometimes associated with fatigue, weight gain and low libido. Endo's injection is to be taken once every 10 weeks, versus weekly or biweekly dosing for currently available products. The company said in a statement it expects to launch the drug this month. The Dublin-based company already markets Fortesta, a prescription gel form of testosterone, the male hormone that begins to decline after age 40.

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In January the FDA said it was reviewing the safety of the drugs after a federal study of 45,000 patients suggested testosterone therapy could double the risk of heart attack in men 65 and older. Last month the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen called on FDA regulators to add a bold, black box warning label about the cardiovascular risks to all testosterone drugs.

The approval was criticized by Public Citizen's Health Research Group founder Dr. Sidney Wolfe, who sent a letter to the FDA Thursday asking it to reverse its decision. He noted that an FDA panel of outside advisers issued a split opinion on Aveed's safety last year, voting 9-9 on the question of whether the drug was safe for treatment of low testosterone. He adds that the meeting, held last April, did not include a discussion about heart risks.

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A study in November 2013 also found an increased risk for heart attack, in addition to strokes and death among men on the supplements.

FDA spokeswoman Andrea Fischer said in a statement that the FDA is continuing its review of testosterone products, but there is no evidence that Aveed's risks are any greater than those of other testosterone drugs already on the market.

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FDA approves long-acting testosterone drug amid controversy

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