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Researchers indicate that testosterone replacement therapy originally intended for men may be an effective way of addressing problems faced by women with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome (CAIS), further expanding the drugs’ uses.
In a study published this week in the medical journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, German researchers looked at the effectiveness of hormone replacement therapy with either androgen or oestrogen following surgical removal of the ovaries.
The research involved a multi-center, double-blind, randomized crossover trial conducted at three university medical centers, including data on 26 patients from November 2011 through January 2016.
According to the findings testosterone was as well tolerated as estrogen treatments, and resulted in an improvement in sexual desire. However, there were 38 adverse events in the testosterone group, compared to only 28 adverse events among women given oestradiol. Most of the adverse events were low grade, the researchers reported.
“Testosterone was well toperated and as safe as oestrogen for hormone-replacement therapy,” the researchers concluded. “Testosterone can be an alternative hormone substitution in CAIS, especially for women with reduced sexual functioning.”
The findings come following years of concerns that drugs have been over-marketed to men without any real medical need for the treatments, after findings that side effects of the low testosterone drugs may increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes and sudden death for men.
While medications like Androgel, Testim and others were originally intended as a “niche” treatment for men suffering from confirmed testosterone deficiency, amid aggressive marketing over the last decades, the drugs grew to generate billions in annual sales.
There are currently more than 6,000 Androgel lawsuits and other claims pending against makers of testosterone replacement therapy, alleging that users and the medical community were not adequately warned about the potential health risks, including an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, blood clots and other life-threatening health problems.