Androgel Testosterone Gel Updates
- Androgel testosterone patients are suing the company that makes and sells it (AbbVie, Inc.)
- Patients found a doctor who researched Androgel
- AbbVie tried to block the doctor from telling the jury what he knows
- The judge wouldn’t let AbbVie block the doctor
- The doctor gets to tell the jury what he knows
Read on for more details.
The Truth: Androgel Testosterone Can Cause Heart Attacks and Strokes
AbbVie, Inc. makes and sells synthetic testosterone in the US under the brand name “Androgel.” Patients use Androgel by rubbing it onto the skin of their upper arms. AbbVie aggressively advertises Androgel as a wonder drug that increases sex drive and energy level. What AbbVie didn’t initially advertise is that Androgel can cause life-threatening health issues like heart attacks and strokes.
Androgel Testosterone Patients Say AbbVie Knew All Along
The FDA first approved the sale of Androgel in 2000. Back then, the company selling Androgel didn’t warn the FDA or patients that Androgel can cause heart attacks and strokes. The FDA has since forced AbbVie to change its tune. The FDA has acted in three ways regarding Androgel:
1. Androgel Might Cause Heart Attacks and Strokes
- January 2013: The FDA issued a Safety Announcement
- The FDA wasn’t sure if Androgel causes heart attacks or strokes, but it announced it was investigating the issue because two studies suggested the causal link
2. Testosterone Increases the Risk of Blood Clots
- June 2014: The FDA updated the warnings that all testosterone manufacturers are required to include on their products’ labels
- One of these warnings was that testosterone increases the risks of blood clots
3. Testosterone Might Not Work for Everyone, Should Only be Used By Patients With Hypogonadism, and Might Increase the Risk of Heart Attacks and Strokes
- March 2015: The FDA issued another Safety Announcement and updated the warnings for Testosterone products. These warnings included:
- Testosterone might not improve sex drive or energy level for patients who have reduced sex drive and energy level because of normal aging, and not because of Hypogonadism (a medical condition where the body produces less testosterone than it should)
- Testosterone should only be used by patients who have low testosterone because of a medical condition, not just anyone who wants an increased sex drive and energy level
- Testosterone might increase the risk of heart attack and stroke
Since the Announcement, AbbVie now includes in its advertisements that Androgel should only be used by patients with a low testosterone level because of a medical condition. AbbVie now also warns that Androgel might increase the risk of blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes. But what about patients who had no warning from anyone, used Androgel, and subsequently had a heart attack or stroke? For those patients, AbbVie’s warnings are too little, too late. Those patients say that the companies selling Androgel knew it could cause heart attacks and strokes all along, but intentionally hid the truth to sell more Androgel. Roughly 2,000 of those patients sued AbbVie in 2013. The case is currently underway in federal court in Chicago, Illinois.
Judge Won’t Let Company Hide the Truth from Jury
In a trial, the judge limits what the lawyers and their witnesses can tell the jury. In an ongoing Androgel case, the patients’ lawyers found a doctor who conducted extensive research studies about Androgel. They want this doctor to tell the jury everything that he uncovered about Androgel. AbbVie doesn’t want that doctor to tell the jury everything that he uncovered. For that reason, AbbVie filed motions to try to block the doctor so he could only tell the jury part of what he knows. The judge denied AbbVie’s motions. This means the doctor gets to tell the jury everything he uncovered about Androgel.
We don’t know what this doctor will tell the jury, or how they’ll react. But given Abbvie’s desperate attempts to block the doctor, he must know something that they don’t want said. Time will tell. Check back here for additional updates on Testosterone as the litigation proceeds.