A lawsuit has been filed against Auxilium Pharmaceuticals over life-threatening injuries allegedly caused by its testosterone drug Testim. According to Joseph Myers, 58, of California, Auxilium aggressively marketed the drug without disclosing the risks. Myers, who filed the suit on February 26th in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, alleges that he suffered from a stroke after taking multiple doses of Testim in 2012. He was told by his doctors later on that Testim is likely to blame for the stroke. Myers did not have any prior history of cardiovascular problems such as blood clots or stroke.
Myers’ lawsuit alleges that Auxilium touted the unsafe Testim as a way to treat symptoms of low testosterone, or “Low T”. He contends in his lawsuit that such symptoms mimic those that also occur with aging, weight gain and lifestyle changes. As a result, he alleges, numerous men are taking this drug unnecessarily while exposing themselves to serious heart risks. Myers says that the massive advertising campaign boosted Testim sales to over $209 million per year.
There have been more recent concerns about the unnecessary use of testosterone replacement drugs due to new research linking testosterone therapy to heart risks. Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it was investigating the risk of heart attack, stroke and death associated with the use of testosterone therapy. The agency cited two studies that helped prompt the investigation. In January, PLoS One published a study showing that in men over 65 with no heart problems, heart risks doubled with the use of testosterone; this risk was tripled in younger men who did have a history of heart issues. In November, JAMA published a study showing that in a cohort of men with underlying heart issues, the use of testosterone replacement drugs boosted the risk of stroke, heart attack and death by 30 percent.
Testosterone heart attack and stroke lawsuits will likely be on the risk as new evidence continues to emerge. Last month, several lawsuits alleged that AndroGel, a testosterone replacement drug manufactured by Abbott Laboratories spin-off company AbbVie, caused injuries such as deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, heart attack and stroke.
Testosterone is the hormone vital to the development of male characteristics. As men age, testosterone levels naturally begin to decrease. The FDA has only approved testosterone replacement drugs for men who have low levels of testosterone due to medical conditions.