Thursday, June 21, 2018
Business

A push to sell testosterone gels troubles doctors

The barrage of advertisements targets older men. "Have you noticed a recent deterioration of your ability to play sports?" "Do you have a decrease in sex drive?" "Do you have a lack of energy?"

If so, the ads warn, you should "talk to your doctor about whether you have low testosterone" — "Low T," as they put it.

In the view of many physicians, that is in large part an invented condition. And while ads like those from AbbVie Pharmaceuticals have buoyed sales of testosterone gels, that may be bad for patients, experts say.

Sales of prescription testosterone gels that are absorbed through the skin generated over $2 billion in American sales last year, a number that is expected to more than double by 2017.

"The market for testosterone gels evolved because there is an appetite among men and because there is advertising," said Dr. Joel Finkelstein, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School who is studying male hormone changes with aging. "The problem is that no one has proved that it works, and we don't know the risks."

Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist at Scripps Health in San Diego, is alarmed by the percentage of patients he sees who use the roll-on prescription products, achieving testosterone levels that he described as "ridiculously high."

The gels are of questionable medical benefit for many of the millions of men who now take them, he and other doctors say, and their side effects may well prove dangerous.

"These medicines come with a risk of coronary artery disease," Topol said. Other side effects include an enlarged prostate, he added.

Patients of any age may benefit from testosterone replacement if their levels are severely low because of serious medical problems, experts say. But testosterone normally declines as men age — just as estrogen does in women, Finkelstein said. Low testosterone is rarely the main cause of erectile dysfunction.

The FDA has approved the gels "for use in men who either no longer produce the male sex hormone testosterone or produce it in very low amounts." Should testosterone be replaced in older men, and will it safely redress frequent ordinary symptoms of male aging, like decreased muscle mass and libido? And what constitutes a very low amount?

Finkelstein said, "Until there are big, long-term studies to address the issues of testosterone replacement, we're not ready to make recommendations on that."

Comments
Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

ST. PETERSBURG — The 16th annual St. Pete Pride Parade is getting ready to march along the downtown waterfront the second straight year. But many hope to move past the division caused last year when the parade was uprooted from its original hom...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

TAMPA — When the 2008 financial crash brought down the nation’s housing market, hundreds of home builders went out of business. Among them was Sharon McSwain Homes in Atlanta, forced to liquidate in 2009.But just as developers like to develop, builde...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

TAMPA — Two of the city’s hottest developers — the companies behind Ulele and the Armature Works — are heading to court over control of an old city building that sits between the hit eateries. Both want to redevelop the city&...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Associated PressFlorida’s busiest airport is becoming the first in the nation to require a face scan of passengers on all arriving and departing international flights, including U.S. citizens, according to officials there. The expected announcement T...
Published: 06/21/18
Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Hours after Tesla had sued its former employee on charges he had stolen company secrets, and days after chief Elon Musk had called him a saboteur, the Silicon Valley automaker made a startling claim. The company had received a call from a friend of t...
Published: 06/21/18
WTR Pool and Grille brings ‘fun dining’ pool party scene to Tampa

WTR Pool and Grille brings ‘fun dining’ pool party scene to Tampa

Mike Piper has traveled to Las Vegas and Miami and enjoyed the fun, daytime, party pool scene that the two cities have to offer.Now he aims to bring that same atmosphere to Tampa with a new dining and hang out spot. WTR Pool & Grill opened on Sunday ...
Published: 06/21/18
Grace Family Church gives thrift stores an upgrade in South Tampa

Grace Family Church gives thrift stores an upgrade in South Tampa

A new resale store has made its way to South Tampa. Grace Family Church recently opened Vintage Etc., to provide affordable, quality merchandise to the community and continue its outreach to help families in need in a loving Christian environment. "W...
Published: 06/21/18
2.4 million Floridians expected to travel for Fourth of July

2.4 million Floridians expected to travel for Fourth of July

Summer has officially started and so have summer travel plans. About 2.4 million Floridians are expected to travel for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, up 6.3 percent from last year, according to AAA, The Auto Club Group."We are already seeing a b...
Published: 06/21/18
Taylor Morrison builds in Wesley Chapel

Taylor Morrison builds in Wesley Chapel

Taylor Morrison will build a new subdivision off of Boyette Road between Wesley Chapel Boulevard and Overpass Road.The builder and developer recently broke ground on Chapel Chase, set on approximately 40 acres just north of New Tampa in Pasco County....
Published: 06/21/18
Grain and Berry Cafe to bring its healthy menu to USF area

Grain and Berry Cafe to bring its healthy menu to USF area

Grain & Berry Cafe opened in Palm Harbor, and now the healthy eatery is rapidly expanding throughout the Tampa Bay area.The healthy eatery opened a new location on E Fowler Ave near the University of South Florida in May, just 10 months after opening...
Published: 06/21/18