Most men — and, indeed, most doctors who treat men — do not have a sophisticated understanding of how testosterone works in the body, how and why different types of hypogonadism progress, and what the true limitations of the testosterone-related research are.
At the same time, men who suffer from Low T related problems do know that “something is wrong.” These men want to fix their problems, and savvy marketers are only too happy to assist. The immediate effects of Low T therapy can be seemingly positive. A man suffering in his mid-30s might care more about relief now and less about a possible heart attack in his 50s.
Journalist Matthew Perrone eloquently summed up the problem in a 2012 AP story, Testosterone Marketing Therapy Draws Skepticism:
“The latest marketing push by drugmakers is for easy-to-use gels and patches that are aimed at a much broader population of otherwise healthy older men with low testosterone, or androgen deficiency. The condition is associated with a broad range of unpleasant symptoms ranging from insomnia to depression to erectile dysfunction. Drug companies peg this group at about 15 million American men, though federal scientists do not use such estimates.
Watson Pharmaceuticals now markets its Androderm patch, which slowly releases testosterone into the bloodstream. Abbott has its gel that can be applied to the shoulders and arms. And Eli Lilly’s Axiron is an underarm gel that rolls on like deodorant. Androderm, launched last year, had $87 million in sales, and Axiron, which was launched in 2010, had sales of $48 million last year.
“All of a sudden you’ve got these big players with a lot of money using consumer directed marketing to change the landscape,” said Dr. Natan Bar-Chama, a male reproductive specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. “They see the potential, they see the market growth annually and it’s very impressive.”
But government researchers worry that medical treatments have gotten ahead of the science.”
Gender roles in the United States have evolved since the stifling 1950s. But sexuality and gender still matter, and many men go to great lengths to:
- Perform better in athletic competitions;
- Earn more at work;
- Enjoy more dynamic sexual relationships;
- Get promotions/start businesses;
- Lose fat and have more energy in the short term
Doctors who feel dubious or even outright skeptical about using testosterone therapy might nevertheless fall under the sway of patients who want a quick fix. Doctors are in the service industry, after all. A doctor may feel pressure to “give in” to a patient’s demand for testosterone therapy to avoid losing business or getting a negative review on Yelp.
Another challenging factor is the time factor. Harm associated with testosterone may not show up for years or even decades. The human mind is not wired to think about risk in that fashion
Finally, testosterone therapy can have both positive and negative effects on the body at the same time, which makes the cost benefit calculus even tougher to measure. Consider cigarettes, which have been rightfully demonized for causing lung cancer and dozens of other awful health conditions. Even cigarettes have short term “benefits” that may seem (for some people) to offset the longer term risks. For instance, they can be soothing and helpful in social situations.
Nicotine, one of the key active ingredients in the cigarettes, suppresses the body’s production of LPL, an enzyme that plays a critical role in storage of fat. When people quit nicotine, LPL levels tend to shoot up, and excess fat is stored as a result. Nicotine’s influence on LPL explains why smokers often lose weight/stay slim until they quit. Unfortunately, this (potentially) positive aspect of nicotine therapy does not counterbalance the long term effects of smoking.
Testosterone clearly plays a dynamic role in many body processes, and it defines men not just physically but also sexually and culturally. It is no wonder that testosterone therapy has been such an easy sell — in some sense, it is literally masculinity in a bottle.
Bearing that context in mind, these blog posts will now explore some common commercial testosterone therapies and analyze the legal actions taken against drug makers for promoting certain testosterone products.
For insight into your Testosterone case, call the Davis & Crump team now at 800-277-0300 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.