Low testosterone levels can cause significant health problems for aging men. All men experience a testosterone decline as they age. However, too-low testosterone levels can lead to heart disease and death. The simplest answer is to treat low testosterone with hormone replacement therapy. However, such therapies can also cause increased health risks for patients. As a result, Low-T fatalities hit families who least expected it.
From multiple angles, it looks like low testosterone is a difficult problem to solve. It’s an even scarier one to face as a patient. With the FDA receiving reports about AndroGel fatalities, men should carefully weigh low testosterone therapy risks and benefits.
Low Testosterone Causes Problems
Hormone levels (particularly testosterone) gradually decrease with age. For men in particular, low testosterone levels can cause:
- decreased energy levels
- hair loss
However, certain medical conditions can also automatically lower men’s testosterone levels, including:
- Inability to produce testosterone within the testicles, caused by genetics or chemotherapy
- Problems in the hypothalamus and pituitary gland—the parts of the brain that control testosterone production
Cardiovascular Issues Lead to Most Low-T Fatalities
For men without any medical condition, however, low testosterone increases risk for heart disease. In 2007, WebMD reported findings on a University of Cambridge study that looked at British men, ranging in age from 40–79.
University of Cambridge gerontologist Kay-Tee Khaw asserted the study found “men with lower testosterone levels had an increased risk of dying from any cause, but most particularly of cardiovascular disease.” However, the same study “found no evidence of a link to cancer with higher testosterone levels.” Thus, the study helped link low testosterone with the range of health problems—and particularly heart disease—that are linked to it.
It’s clear that low testosterone can cause significant health risks for men with hypogonadism. But is hormonal replacement therapy really the best solution?
Low-T Therapies: Are They Worth the Risk?
While the Cambridge study implies that hormonal therapy may help men avoid risks low testosterone risks, studies show Low-T therapies aren’t always the best solution. In fact, more recent studies show zero benefit to aging men taking testosterone therapy. Scientists found no measurable impact on subjects’ mood, libido, energy levels or physical strength. These findings directly contradict AbbVie’s assertive, direct-to-consumer marketing campaigns over the last decade.
While many aging men experience lowered testosterone levels, the FDA clearly states that testosterone therapies and products are approved only for men with lowered testosterone as a result of an associated medical condition, like hypogonadism. As the FDA puts it, “None of the FDA-approved testosterone products are approved for use in men with low testosterone levels who lack an associated medical condition.”
And yet, from 2001-2011, the number of men using Low-T products increased from .81% to 2.91%. And during that time, thousands of men filed claims against low-T therapy manufacturers due to heart attacks or strokes.
FDA Updates Low T Warning After Thousands of Men Suffer Heart Problems
In fact, in March 2015, the FDA issued an updated low-T therapy warning. The agency’s statement warned about increased heart attack and stroke risks for men receiving low-T therapy. As a result, over 7,000 cases filed throughout the U.S. resulted in a federal, multi-district litigation effort in northern Illinois. This MDL can centralize all testosterone injury claims, including low-t fatalities. Currently, FDA-approved testosterone products are only approved to treat men with lab test-confirmed hypogonadism. Yet the FDA states that only 1 in 5 men receiving low t products actually completes required laboratory testosterone level testing for hypogonadism. That means 80% of testosterone therapy patients are at risk for unnecessary and potentially fatal cardiovascular events. And the question of what to do for those who do suffer from low testosterone also remains.
It seems that, for the time being, we wait for justice to come from the courts.
How Victims’ Families Can Get Justice for Low-T Fatalities
Families of victims with low-T fatalities are holding manufacturers accountable for downplaying risks. To date, two juries awarded AndroGel plaintiffs Jeffrey Konrad and Jesse Mitchell nearly $300 million in damages. If you or someone you love experienced serious heart problems with low-t therapy, you may qualify for compensation. To see if you may be eligible for a cash settlement, fill out your free compensation evaluation form now. Once you’ve submitted your information, an experienced advocate will contact you to discuss your compensation options.
Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.