California Man Sues Auxilium Pharmaceuticals for Testosterone Drug

A 58-year-old man from California filed a lawsuit against Auxilium Pharmaceuticals Inc., claiming their testosterone therapy, Testim, caused his stroke.

In a February 26th lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Joseph Myers alleged that after taking multiple doses of Testim in 2012, he suffered a stroke, which his doctors believe was most likely caused by the drug.

Testosterone is a male hormone produced by the testicles. It helps with a man’s bone density, sex drive, muscle mass and strength, fat distribution, production of red blood cells, and sperm production.  Doctors can prescribe a form of testosterone therapy treatment in the form of a gel, patch, injection, or pellet.

Testim is a gel form of testosterone therapy treatment and is available in 50 mg. or 100 mg. tubes. It is to be applied to the shoulder or upper arm area. The body absorbs the testosterone within 24 hours after a single application of the drug.

Joseph Myers alleged that Auxilium’s massive marketing campaign aggressively promoted Testim without warning users of the life-threatening side effects.

Myers alleges that Auxilium has continued to market its dangerous product by convincing men like Myers that they suffer from low testosterone. However, Myers argues that the symptoms of low testosterone resemble part of aging, such as weight gain, low energy, and lifestyle changes, and that millions of men are unnecessarily being treated with Testim and other similar testosterone replacement therapies, that in recent years have been linked to serious cardiac issues, such as heart attack and stroke.

According to the suit, Auxilium engaged in an “aggressive, award-winning” direct-to-consumer and physician marketing and ad campaign, which exploded sales of Testim to more than $209 million annually. The so-called “disease awareness” campaign to convince men they might be suffering from “Low T” encourages patients to discuss their condition with their physicians, who have also been influenced by Auxilium’s advertising to prescribe the drug, the lawsuit states.

“Defendant convinced millions of men to discuss testosterone replacement therapy with their doctors, and consumers and their physicians relied on Defendant’s promises of safety and ease,” the complaint asserts. “What consumers received, however, were not safe drugs, but products which cause life-threatening problems, including strokes and heart attacks.

As we reported to you just a few weeks ago, lawsuits were filed against AbbVie Inc. and Abbott Laboratories Inc., the manufacturers of Androgel, another form of testosterone therapy treatment.

Two new studies published in leading medical journals have linked testosterone therapies to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, the lawsuit says. Myers alleges that in some patient populations, Testim use may increase the incidence of myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) and death by 500 percent.  As we previously reported, a study in PLOS One found that men aged 65 and older had double the risk of suffering a heart attack after filling a prescription for testosterone therapy treatment. Younger men involved in the study had three times the risk of suffering a heart attack if they had a family history of heart disease.

The results of these studies prompted an announcement by the FDA on January 31, 2014 that they will investigate the risk of heart attack, stroke and death among men taking the FDA-approved testosterone therapy treatments.

Myers was 56 when he suffered his stroke after taking Testim and states that he had no prior history of blood clots, strokes or any significant cardiovascular problems. Myers asserts that if Auxilium properly disclosed the risks associated with Testim, he would have either not used testosterone therapy at all, severely limited the dose and length of its use or closely monitored the degree to which the drugs were adversely affecting his health.

The lawsuit includes causes of action for strict products liability, negligence, breach of implied and express warranties, fraud, and negligent misrepresentation and seeks punitive damages against Auxilium.

The FDA should require all manufacturers of testosterone therapy treatment drugs to warn physicians about the serious side effects immediately, as well as warn patients before they receive these treatments. If it seems too good to be true, it usually is.

If you or a loved one are taking or have taken a form of testosterone therapy treatment and suffered serious side effects, contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878) for further information.

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