Depo-Testosterone Lawsuit Filed Over Heart Problems
Pfizer faces a product liability lawsuit brought by a California man who alleges that side effects of the Depo-Testosterone shot caused him to suffer multiple acute infarctions, resulting in prolonged hospitalization and placing him at risk of future heart attacks and premature death.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Gonzalo Menendez, and his wife Kristie, on July 31, in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
The couple joins a growing number of individuals nationwide pursuing testosterone lawsuits against the makers of different injections, gels and patches, alleging that inadequate warnings were provided about the potential heart risks associated with the popular medications.
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Menendez indicates that he began receiving the Depo-Testosterone shot in May 2011, continuing to receive the injections for several months. In August of that year, the 39 year old suffered serious heart problems.
According to allegations raised in the lawsuits, Menendez indicates that if he had been fully advised about the risks with Depo-Testosterone, he never would have agreed to receive the injections.
The lawsuit accuses Pfizer and other drug manufacturers of aggressively and deceptively promoting testosterone replacement therapy to doctors, which has grown from a niche market to a multi-billion dollar per year industry amid direct-to-consumer ads that encourage men to ask their doctors if they may be suffering from “low T” if they experience vague symptoms, such as weigh gain, lack of energy or fatigue, which are common among nearly all men as they age.
Testosterone Heart Risks
Concerns about the link between heart attacks and testosterone drugs has increased over the past year, after a series of studies that suggested that the drug makers may have aggressively promoted the medications without adequately researching the cardiovascular risks.
In November 2013, a study published in JAMA suggested that side effects of testosterone medications may increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and death among older men with certain pre-existing heart problems.
That research was followed by a study published in the medical journal PLOSOne in January 2014, which found that testosterone treatments may double the risk of heart attack for younger men with heart disease and men over the age of 65, regardless of their prior heart conditions.
In response to the findings, the FDA launched a safety review of all testosterone replacement therapy on January 31, leading to multiple media reports about the potential risk and lawyers advertising for potential claims.
In addition to Depo-Testosterone lawsuits, a growing number of AndroGel lawsuits, Axiron lawsuits, Testim lawsuits and Androderm lawsuits have been filed nationwide involving the various different forms of the popular testosterone drugs.
Due to the large number of cases currently being filed nationwide involving nearly identical allegations, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation established consolidated pretrial proceedings in the federal court system for all testosterone lawsuits, regardless of which drug or manufacturer is involved in the case. The litigation has been centralized before U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly in the Eastern District of Illinois to reduce duplicative discovery, avoid conflicting rulings in different cases and to serve the convenience of the witnesses, parties and courts.
Menendez accuses Pfizer of failure to warn, negligence, breach of warranty, fraud, negligent misrepresentation and violating California consumer protection laws. His wife is suing Pfizer for loss of consortium. The couple seeks both compensatory and punitive damages.
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