Testosterone therapy promises men more energy and heightened libidos, but some patients say those promises were accompanied by heart attacks and pulmonary embolisms.
Testosterone has been approved for men impacted by testicular injury, genetic conditions or chemotherapy. However, due to a huge marketing campaign to doctors and patients, testosterone has become a $200 billion a year industry, touting the “Fountain of Youth” effects of increased energy and a re-charged sex drive.
About a week after receiving his first testosterone injection Steve Schabel, of Indiana, had difficulty breathing, which got worse over time. At the hospital he learned he’d suffered a near-fatal double pulmonary embolism, blocking veins on both lungs.
He felt like he was going to die. Now he’s taking blood thinners for the rest of his life.
AbbVie and Abbott Laboratories, both located in North Chicago, make testosterone. They and other drug companies are defendants in the 2,000 lawsuits brought by men who have suffered heart attacks and strokes that they claim were caused by testosterone therapy.
Many of the lawsuits have been combined into one Chicago courtroom that may help determine the future of the off-label medical treatment. The lawsuits raise questions on how the drug is marketed and highlight patient difficulty in assessing benefits and risks.
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