Quack Medicine? A Push to Sell Testosterone Gels Is Not Without Major Side Effects

Recommended by Dr. Michael White, Published on December 14th, 2013
Reading Time: 2 minutes

As a Texas Medical Doctor and a Dallas Dangerous Drug attorney, I am concerned by the onslaught of tv advertisements that specifically target older men. The ads ask the questions with a concerned male voice over, Have you noticed a recent deterioration of your ability to play sports? Do you have a decrease in sex drive? Do you have a lack of energy?

If so, the ads warn, you should talk to your doctor about whether you have low testosterone Low T, is the new buzz word.

According to media experts in 2012, drug makers in the United States spent $3.47 billion on advertising directly to consumers. Abbott Laboratories spent $80 million advertising AndroGel last year. Sales of prescription testosterone gels that are absorbed through the skin generated over $2 billion in American sales last year.

The FDA approved testosterone treatment for people suffering from testosterone hormonal deficiencies caused by medical problems like endocrine tumors or the disruptive effects of chemotherapy, a medical condition called hypogonadism. Now the prescription gels are being sold as lifestyle products, to raise falling levels of the male sex hormone as men age.

Testosterone Treatment Benefit?

The market for testosterone gels evolved because there is an appetite among men and because there is advertising, said Dr. Joel Finkelstein, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School who is studying male hormone changes with aging. The problem is that no one has proved that it works and we dont know the risks.

The gels are of questionable medical benefit for many of the millions of men who now take them, doctors say, and their side effects may well prove dangerous.

These medicines come with a risk of coronary artery disease, according to Dr. Topol, a cardiologist expert.

Low T No Such Disease

Many experts say that pharmaceutical advertising promotes excessive and inappropriate drug use by convincing patients that they are ill or have a more serious condition and they need medicine to treat it. While television viewers are pummeled with advertising warning men they may have low T, Dr. Finkelstein said, There is no such disease.

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Quack Medicine? A Push to Sell Testosterone Gels Is Not Without Major Side Effects

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