martes, 18 de septiembre de 2012

Are Testosterone Drugs the Next Viagra? (I)



"Are you falling asleep after dinner?"

"Do you have a decrease in libido?"

"Have you noticed a recent deterioration in your ability to play sports?"

"It could be Low-T."


By MATTHEW PERRONE — AP Health Writer WASHINGTON —

Welcome to the latest big marketing push by U.S. drug companies. In this case, it's a web page for Abbott Laboratories' Androgel, a billion-dollar selling testosterone gel used by millions of American men struggling with the symptoms of growing older that are associated with low testosterone, such as poor sex drive, weight gain and fatigue.Androgel is one of a growing number of prescription gels, patches and injections aimed at boosting the male hormone that begins to decline after about age 40. Drugmakers and some doctors claim testosterone therapy can reverse some of the signs of aging - even though the safety and effectiveness of such treatments is unclear."The problem is that we don't have any evidence that prescribing testosterone to older men with relatively low testosterone levels does any good," says Dr. Sergei Romashkan, who oversees clinical trials for the National Institute on Aging, a part of the National Institutes of Health conglomerate of research centers.Low testosterone is the latest example of a once-natural part of getting old that has become a target for medical treatment. Bladder problems, brittle bones and hot flashes have followed a similar path: from inconvenient facts of life, to ailments that can be treated with drugs. The rise of such therapies is being fueled by both demographics and industry marketing.

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But the latest marketing push by drugmakers is for easy-to-use gels and patches that are aimed at a much broader population of otherwise healthy older men with low testosterone, or androgen deficiency. The condition is associated with a broad range of unpleasant symptoms ranging from insomnia to depression to erectile dysfunction. Drug companies peg this group at about 15 million American men, though federal scientists do not use such estimates.Watson Pharmaceuticals now markets its Androderm patch, which slowly releases testosterone into the bloodstream. Abbott has its gel that can be applied to the shoulders and arms. And Eli Lilly's Axiron* is an underarm gel that rolls on like deodorant. Androderm, launched last year, had $87 million in sales, and Axiron, which was launched in 2010, had sales of $48 million last year.

(*) This photo provided by Eli Lilly & Co. shows the drug Axiron. Axiron, an underarm gel that rolls on like deodorant, is one drug used by men struggling with symptoms of growing older associated with low testosterone such as poor sex drive, weight gain and fatigue. It's one of a growing number of prescription gels, patches and injections aimed at boosting levels of the male hormone that begins to decline in men after about age 40. Drugmakers and some doctors claim testosterone therapy can reverse signs of aging _ even though the safety and effectiveness of such treatments is unclear.

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Are Testosterone Drugs the Next Viagra?


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