What is Androgel?
Androgel is a topical gel that contains the male hormone testosterone. Many men experience a decrease in their natural testosterone levels as they age and want to boost those levels, so they turn to a supplement.
Though Androgel is an FDA approved product prescribed by doctors, many users have found the product triggers serious and potentially deadly side effects, including:
- Heart attack
- Blood clots
The original version of Androgel was approved for sale in 2000. Eleven years later, an updated version of the product that featured .62 percent more potency was introduced.
Though the product has always been popular, use of it has risen dramatically in the last few years. Some believe this is due to direct-to-consumer marketing, as well as the aging Baby Boomer population.
What is Low T?
Many prescriptions for Androgel are given after a man is diagnosed by his doctor with “Low T.” Symptoms of Low T include:
- Decreased sex drive
- Weight gain
It should be noted that some in the medical community do not consider Low T an actual medical condition. Many of the symptoms of Low T are associated with the normal signs of aging. As a matter of fact, men naturally experience a decrease in testosterone levels as they age, so even if their testosterone is lower than it was a few years ago, they do not have a disease or condition. Studies show testosterone levels drop about one percent per year after the age of 30.
Furthermore, the symptoms of Low T are also associated with other health issues, including a lack of physical activity, an unhealthy diet, or depression.
Some studies have even shown that men are being given testosterone prescriptions, including Androgel, despite not having a true medical need for the product. There is concern that overuse of the product puts a higher number of men at risk for the serious side effects associated with the drug.
Androgel and Cardiovascular Health
One of the most serious concerns related to Androgel is the drug’s link to cardiovascular events, including stroke and heart attack. This risk is especially high for men who already have heart health problems and use the drug.
A study published in the November 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) determined that men who had undergone a coronary angiography had a nearly 30 percent higher risk for heart attack or stroke when using Androgel. A 2014 study demonstrated that the risk of heart attack for men over 65 doubled when using Androgel, and younger men using the drug who had pre-existing heart problems had triple the risk.
Does Androgel Pose a Risk to Children?
In addition to the cardiovascular risks faced by men using Androgel, there is also evidence that children accidentally exposed to the product are also at risk.
Androgel users spray the product onto their upper arm. Though users are encouraged to use caution, it is possible the product could get onto clothing or be touched by a child.
Concerns about child exposure to Androgel became so serious that in 2009 the company added a black box warning to the product warning of the risks. Children who come into contact with Androgel can experience:
- The inappropriate growth of pubic hair
- Changes in genital size
- Increased libido
- Aggressive behavior
- Various hormonal issues
Essentially, the exposure to testosterone triggers early onset puberty and other problems for children.
Many people believe Androgel’s manufacturer should have been aware of the risks their product posed to children and included a warning long before the black box warning was added.