Thursday, March 8, 2012

Latest Scary Drug Ad: What is AndroGel 1.62%?

What is AndroGel 1.62%?
Testosterone topical gel is used to treat the symptoms of low testosterone in men who do not produce enough natural testosterone. Testosterone is a hormone that is usually produced by the body that is needed for the growth and functioning of the male sexual organs.
The commercial I saw last night had about 15 seconds explaining what the drug does and then 45 seconds explaining the side effects. Here's where it gets scary.

  • breast enlargement and/or pain
    decreased sexual desireacnehair losshot flushesdepressionmood changesnervousnessheadacheweaknessdifficulty falling asleep or staying asleepteary eyeschanges in ability to smell or tastedry skin
Then even more serious side effects?!?! Call your doctor immediately if any of these occur:
  • swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
    breathing problems, especially during sleeperections that happen too often or that last too longdifficulty urinatingweak urine flowsudden need to urinate right awayfrequent urination, especially at nightnauseavomitingyellow or darkened skin
Then they warn about your wife growing hair and your kid entering puberty early if they're exposed to the gel!!!! WTF??!!???

How does a drug with scores of extremely troubling side effects get approved? To me, this is another example of the drug industry pushing a questionable treatment onto the public using direct to consumer advertisements while the regulators charged with approving these meds appear to be rubber stamping potentially dangerous medications. This is not the first time. SNL had an amazing sketch highlighting the strange world we now find ourselves in.

The real question ought to be why are men not producing enough testosterone in the first place. Why are drug companies developing these medications while the regulators responsible for protecting the public fail to eliminate our exposure to chemicals that may be leading to this condition?