AndroGel manufactured by Abbvie, Inc., a subsidiary of the pharmaceutical company Abbot Labs, was approved on February 28, 2000 for the treatment of low testosterone, otherwise known as “Low-T.” AndroGel is a hydroacloholic gel that contains testosterone and is applied to the chest, arms and stomach. The gel is then absorbed through the skin.
After the age of 40, men start to experience a decline in testosterone levels. Testosterone aides in sperm production, maintenance of body mass, muscle growth and sex drive. Testosterone manufacturers, Abbvie, Inc. and AndroGel, launched an aggressive advertising campaign that targeted millions of men. AndroGel was marketed as a convenient and effective alternative to testosterone injections which require frequent visits to the doctor and can be more difficult to administer.
Additionally, the companies targeted primary care physicians to prescribe their blockbuster AndroGel. In 2011, 5.3 million prescriptions were written for testosterone treatment. AndroGel is one of the best selling testosterone products on the market. Abbot Labs spent a reported $80 million dollars in marketing and promoting AndroGel. In 2012, Abbot Labs and Abbvie received $1.4 billion in sales for AndroGel.
One thing that was not disclosed in the marketing of AndroGel is that it can lead to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis. A New England Journal of Medicine entitled “Adverse Events Associated with Testosterone Administration” was stopped after a greater number of adverse events occurred in testosterone therapy treatment patients than placebo patients.
In 2013, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that testosterone therapy increased the risk of heart attack and stroke by 30%. In 2014, a study was released by PLOS ONE entitled “Increased Risk of Non-Fatal Myocardial Infarction Following Testosterone Therapy prescription in Men” indicated that testosterone use doubled the risk of heart attack and stroke in men over the age of 65.
The FDA recently reported that it is investigating the link between testosterone therapy and adverse events such as heart attack, stroke and sudden death.
If you or a loved one has suffered side effects, including heart attack or stroke, from testosterone therapy, please contact our law firm.