AndroGel is a prescription medication made by AbbVie, Inc. that contains testosterone and they promise it can help men who have what they call “Low T.” They claim if you are a man with a lackluster mood, decreased sex drive or loss of energy this could be due to lower levels of testosterone (aka Low T) and they urge to you start a conversation with your doctor to see if AndroGel is right for you.
What Is Low T?
No, it’s not a new rapper. It’s the name invented by the makers of AndroGel of a condition that potentially affects millions of people, primarily men over 60.
Starting at about age 30, men naturally decrease their testosterone levels about 1% a year; this is completely normal. When levels get too low, thought to be below around 300 (ng/dL) it can be linked to erectile dysfunction, depression, weight gain, and mood swings.
However, these symptoms can also be connected to diabetes or heart disease. The concept of “Low T” or “male menopause” is somewhat controversial, because there is still an inconclusive link to testosterone and it is not recognized by the World Health Organization.
One thing is for certain, there has been a boom in prescriptions for AndroGel and other testosterone replacement therapies (TRT), which have tripled in the last decade.
How AndroGel Works
AndroGel comes in 2 different dosages: 1% and 1.62%. Basically, you pump on each shoulder a number of times ordered by your doctor. AndroGel does have a Secondary Black Box Warning stating that contact with women and children may result in them growing beards… or worse.
The American Urological Foundation considers Low T to be a treatable ailment, with 70% of patients being able to use some type of gel like AndroGel. However, in a recent update, they stated they are concerned about “misuse” of these products and want further investigation into claims that it increases heart attacks.
AndroGel Side Effects
AndroGel is a pharmaceutical drug regulated by the FDA. As with most prescription drugs, there are quite a few side effects including swelling breasts, smaller testicles, infertility, acne, and may worsen prostrate cancer or cause strokes. A study released in January 2014 showed a doubling in heart attack risk in 55,000 men that used TRT. It can also cause mood swings and aggressive behavior. That same month, the FDA announced it would be investigating these claims, and several class action lawsuits are in the works.
Read the full side effects here.
Bottom Line: Is AndroGel Right for Me?
Generally speaking, Low T seems to a very real problem, albeit with a manufactured name. According to WebMD, TRT is safe, as long as you are carefully monitored.
That may be so, but it is important to remember and understand all the potential downsides/side effects as listed above. You have to ask yourself “is it worth it to expose myself and/or my family to AndroGel?” Low T may also be a symptom of a more serious underlying illness.
As adults are living longer and taboos about talking about our sex drive are lifting, it is important to discuss any concerns you may have about Low T with your doctor. We also worry, however, since AndroGel is often covered by health insurance, that it is overprescribed.
We suggest first trying to get your “mojo” back by losing a few pounds, exercising, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep.
We hope this helps you make an informed decision about AndroGel. Let us know what you think below!