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Testosterone Replacement Therapy FAQ

Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) involves a variety of prescription drugs that can increase a male's testosterone levels. Males with abnormally low testosterone levels may experience the following:

  • Lack of energy
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Muscle loss
  • Depression

Testosterone replacement therapy often promises to counter these symptoms.

How does testosterone help males?

Testosterone is a critical hormone for men of all ages. During puberty, it plays a vital role in a young male's sexual development and physical growth. Testosterone is responsible for the development of a male's sex organs and sex drive (libido). It's also responsible for their physical strength, energy, and endurance.

Testosterone replacement therapy benefits men's health in many other ways, including maintaining the following:

  • Body fat distribution
  • Bone density
  • Sexual function
  • Muscle strength
  • Muscle mass
  • Weight loss
  • Erections
  • Sex drive
  • Levels of testosterone
  • Sexual desire
  • Energy levels

As males get older, testosterone production naturally begins to decrease. This testosterone deficiency typically begins around thirty. Many males notice the effects after age forty.

What are the side effects of testosterone replacement therapy?

As with most other treatment options, there are several potential adverse side effects of TRT. When you first meet with your hormone replacement therapist, ask them what these side effects are. You must weigh the benefits of TRT with the potential risks.

Some of the more common side effects of TRT include:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Impaired sperm production
  • Acne
  • High red blood cell count
  • Growth of breast tissue (Gynecomastia)
  • Growth of pre-existing prostate cancer cells
  • Increased risk of breast cancer

If you experience severe side effects, speak with your urologist. Your healthcare provider may be able to modify the TRT dosage or offer relief from the adverse side effects.

Why do men undergo testosterone replacement therapy?

Many males turn to testosterone replacement therapy to counter the natural decline in testosterone production. Manufacturers of testosterone drugs have marketed their products as a way to increase libido, cognitive function, and muscle mass.

This marketing campaign has been successful. In 2023, the TRT market was worth $1.85 billion. Experts predict it will grow to at least $2.2 billion by 2027, with an annual growth of more than 4.6%. This shows that, despite the risks, people still opt for this treatment. People also spend billions of dollars on testosterone products each year.

Testosterone drugs are specifically approved for use among males with low testosterone levels. This is a condition called male hypogonadism. Common signs and symptoms of hypogonadism include:

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Infertility
  • Decreased body hair growth
  • Decreased muscle mass
  • Development of breast tissue
  • Loss of bone mass
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Concentration problems
  • Hot flashes

There are times when testosterone replacement therapy is necessary for other medical reasons. Some men are born with body or brain conditions that can cause them to produce an insufficient amount of testosterone. Men can also suffer injuries, some painful, that limit or prevent natural testosterone production. Chemotherapy can also cause a drop in testosterone levels.

What kinds of testosterone replacement therapies are available?

There are many prescription testosterone products available. Manufacturers use a variety of delivery systems for testosterone products. These include the following:

  • Creams
  • Patches
  • Gels
  • Injections
  • Gums
  • Implants

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved numerous testosterone products as safe for patient use. You should consult with your urologist to determine which testosterone replacement therapy will work best for you.

What are the health risks of testosterone replacement therapy?

In addition to the potential adverse side effects, there are other, more severe health risks associated with TRT. The risk of developing these medical conditions depends on several factors. For example, the age of the patient matters. So does their overall physical condition when they first start hormone therapy.

Three of the most severe health risks associated with testosterone replacement therapy are stroke, heart attack, and prostate cancer.

Stroke and Heart Attack

Recent studies have shown a possible link between testosterone replacement therapy and an increased risk of cardiovascular problems. In 2015, the FDA required a labeling change to inform about the possible increased risk of heart attack and stroke among males using approved testosterone products.

The FDA announcement came after two medical studies found an increased risk of cardiovascular problems among males taking testosterone products. The first study found that patients receiving testosterone treatment had a 30% increased risk of stroke and heart attack.

The second study found an increased risk of heart attack among older men and younger males with pre-existing heart conditions receiving testosterone treatment.

Another recent study shows that men who had low levels of testosterone did not have a higher rate of heart attacks or strokes after using prescription testosterone replacement therapy compared to men who took a placebo.

Prostate Cancer

There's an ongoing debate over testosterone replacement therapy's potential to increase the rate of prostate cancer. So far, studies have not found a link between testosterone replacement therapy and accelerated prostate cancer growth. However, a significant number of doctors still suspect that testosterone replacement therapy can speed up the development of prostate cancer.

Have any lawsuits been filed over testosterone replacement therapy?

Yes. A growing number of men have filed lawsuits against the manufacturers of testosterone drugs. Many of these lawsuits contend that TRT causes patients to suffer strokes, heart attacks, and blood clots. These lawsuits seek compensation for injured patients from the manufacturers under a legal theory known as product liability.

What factors contribute to product liability claims involving testosterone replacement therapy?

Just because you had TRT doesn't mean you're automatically entitled to compensation. Your attorney must prove that you suffered damages. They also need to demonstrate that the defendant is responsible for their injuries.

Some product liability claims require that you prove negligence. This means you'll need to show the following four things:

  • The defendant owed you a duty of care
  • They breached that duty
  • You suffered an injury
  • Your injury was due to their breach of duty

When you first discuss the idea of testosterone replacement therapy, your doctor must advise you of its risks. You'll have to decide if you want to move forward with the therapy, given these risks. If your doctor doesn't discuss these with you, you may have a claim for medical malpractice.

At the same time, the company that manufactures and markets the drug also has a duty of care. They're required to warn you and your therapist of certain dangers. If they fail to do this, you can file a lawsuit against the drug manufacturer.

Other product liability cases will involve strict liability. If the courts apply this standard to your case, you won't have to prove that your doctor or the manufacturer did anything wrong. The fact that the drug was unsafe will be enough to substantiate your claim for damages. As long as you can prove your injuries, you may recover damages.

How can I get legal help with my testosterone replacement claim?

The complications involved with testosterone drugs, including stroke, heart attack, and cardiac arrest, can have lasting effects and require extensive medical care. A product liability lawsuit can help you recover damages for medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering you experienced due to testosterone therapy.

Product liability suits are often complicated. Your attorney will need medical evidence and expert witnesses to help prove your case. The sooner you contact an experienced product liability attorney, the more time they'll have to prepare your case adequately.

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