July 6, 2016 — Testosterone therapy is being promoted for aging men with naturally declining libido, according to an investigation into “illness inflation” by the Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel.
Testosterone is not approved to increase sexual desire in men and it has not been shown to substantially improve it.
However, the products are making headlines like “Testosterone therapy may boost older men’s sex lives.” Not surprisingly, that study was funded by the company that sells AndroGel, the most popular testosterone gel product on the market.
And the results were underwhelming — men on testosterone only had one extra orgasm per month compared to men on a placebo.
The problem is that testosterone may boost the risk of prostate cancer, blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes. The FDA has asked drug-makers to investigate cardiovascular side effects, but warnings have had little effect on sales.
The FDA received over 9,000 reports of serious side effects last year alone, according to investigators:
“Since 2013, testosterone drugs were listed as the primary cause behind more than 14,000 reports of serious medical complications, including more than 1,900 hospitalizations and about 450 deaths.”
Testosterone therapy is nothing new. However, the drugs are only approved for men with hypogonadism, a rare disorder that causes low testosterone due to genetic problems or missing testicles.
Investigators say drug-makers are “taking common everyday conditions and turning them into medical disorders” to create a new market for high-profit prescription drugs.
In 2006, a company that sold testosterone gel published a study that said 39% of men over 45 — or about 14 million American men — had low testosterone levels.
Today, around 30 million men are now on testosterone therapy. The number has quadrupled in the last 15 years, largely due to a massive ad campaign suggesting that men with low libido might have “Low T.” About 5,000 lawsuits have been filed by men who experienced side effects.
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