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A new analysis of insurance records suggests that testosterone treatments like AndroGel are being overprescribed. The publication of the study, which appears in Public Health Reports, comes as hundreds of men pursue testosterone lawsuits which allege, among other things, that sales of the drugs were driven by marketing that induced healthy men to seek out low T therapy to remedy symptoms associated with normal male aging.
According to the report, the study drew on data from 1,474 men aged 40 and over who were prescribed testosterone replacement therapy between 2001 and 2010. Of those, nearly 20% were prescribed the drugs despite exhibiting hormone levels that exceeded treatment guidelines set forth by the Endocrine Society. More than 26% of the men included in the study did not receive testing to determine if they were actually suffering from low testosterone levels, while more than 47% did not have levels checked for a full year after they began treatment.
The study also found that a large percentage of men receiving low T therapy did not undergo screening for prostate cancer, either before or during the first year of treatment. The Endocrine Society recommends such screening, as testosterone is a growth-promoting hormone that does have the potential to ignite tumor growth.
Finally, the data revealed that men who were prescribed testosterone therapy in accordance with current guidelines were more likely to be treated by an endocrinologist or urologist than a primary care doctor.
“These findings are very important from a medical and public health standpoint given the rapidly increasing number of men receiving testosterone in the U.S.” the study’s lead author said in a news release announcing its publication. “Further research on the medical decision-making processes involved in monitoring and prostate cancer screening will be important, given our limited knowledge of the risks of this therapy.”
Earlier this month, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Safety Communication focused on the cardiovascular side effects potentially associated with prescription testosterone treatments. The agency also expressed concerns that the drugs were frequently being prescribed to treat age-related drops in testosterone, even though they are not approved for this use. The FDA pointed out that testosterone replacement drugs have only been cleared to treat men who suffer from hypogonadism (low testosterone) due to an underlying medical condition.
Court documents indicate that more than 1,100 testosterone lawsuits have been filed in federal court on behalf of men who allegedly experienced heart attacks, strokes and other serious cardiovascular problems due to their use of AndroGel and other low T therapies. These lawsuits also claim that the marketing tactics used to drive sales of testosterone replacement products caused many men to use the potentially dangerous drugs in the absence of a real medical need.
Bernstein Liebhard LLP is representing a number of plaintiffs in testosterone lawsuits, and our legal staff is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to filing such a claim. To contact a testosterone lawyer for a free, no-obligation case review, please call .