Firm-Wide blog

Concern regarding over-prescription of testosterone

By Burg Simpson
June 20, 2014
3 min read



Physicians are becoming concerned about the popular trend of prescribing testosterone for men, according to Physicians News Digest. The rate of testosterone prescriptions tripled between 2001 and 2011, according to a study by physicians at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston.

Increase in male-focused clinics
​Now low testosterone clinics are opening across the country, Physicians News Digest reported. There are now two medical centers devoted only to men in New York City, according to The New York Times. Both have opened within the last two years. The medical facilities offer a wide range of services including heart monitoring, hair removal and hormone therapy – such as hormone therapy with testosterone.

An issue with male-focused medical centers is the possibility of overtesting and overtreatment, Dr. Steven Woloshin from the Dartmouth Institute of Health Policy and Clinical Practice said. For example, low testosterone has become its own industry and men without underlying medical conditions are being prescribed exogenous testosterone therapies, The New York Times reported.

Also, the amount of testosterone given to patients may not be tracked if the patient pays with cash, according to Physicians News Digest. The number of men being prescribed testosterone without a medical need may be higher than suspected.

Is testosterone safe?
Physicians and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are concerned because testosterone has been linked to an increased risk of stroke, blood clots, heart attacks, and death. The FDA announced in January that it is looking into the risks associated with testosterone therapy.

In fact, blood clots related to testosterone treatment have garnered such concern that on June 19, the FDA announced it would require manufacturers of testosterone products to include warning labels cautioning of the risks of blood clots forming in veins.

Men with a medical need should be treated properly with hormone therapy, but Woloshin believes the physicians over-prescribing testosterone may be doing more harm than good, The New York Times reported.

On the other side of the issue are the physicians at male-focused medical centers. The chief medical officer at the Low T Center in Southlake, Texas, Dr. Bill Reilly, says patients treated for low testosterone are thoroughly checked and diagnosed with a medical condition prior to receiving a prescription and about 15,000 men have been denied treatment because they did not match the medical definition of low testosterone, according to Physicians News Digest. Men with issues such as sleep apnea, high blood pressure or a risk for other illnesses are encouraged to see their regular physician.

Reilly believes the controversy and criticism come from a lack of understanding and a fear of competition in the medical community.

Burg Simpson is actively investigating cases involving men who have used testosterone replacement therapy and suffered a blood clot, heart attack, stroke or died. If you or a loved one suffered one of these injuries while using testosterone replacement therapy you may have a claim.

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