Sunday, September 21, 2014

 
ANDROGEL, FACTS AND MYTHS
 
Last week I noted I discovered MeTV.  It is basically old TV series.  I have been enjoying Perry Mason from 10:30 to 11:30 before falling asleep.  As a kid you do not see it, but as an adult you see how the scripts are formula driven to the point of identical sub-stories and lines.
 
Tuesday, FYI - taking down Carl Montoya - it is time he is sent packing.
 
I can only speak from my experience.  I am a strong advocate of Androgel, and really hate all of the commercials on MeTV asking that people call in to sue the makers of Androgel because of heart problems.
 
For reasons I will explain below, I do a double dosage every day, and have no negative side effects.  This is a great drug getting a bad rap because some lawyers want to make money.  These people remind me of the people suing the cigarette companies because they did not know cigarettes cause cancer and heart problems.  That is a jury you do not want me on because I will given you zero and a reprimand for not taking responsibility for your own actions.
 
THE MYTHS
 
The first endocrinologist at the VA San Antonio refused to prescribe the Androgel because in his mind men only want it for ED and sex.  He left the room and never came back after I proved to him I did not have ED.  I was then sent to a private provider in Brownsville who put me in testosterone injections.  In time I was put on Androgel.  For my type hypogonanism the injections are not the best option.  When I started testosterone treatment my level was 155.  Treatment is recommended at 200 or below.
 
Androgel has done nothing for me in terms of sexual function.  In fact my sexual function and drive has gone from 24/7 to about 15/7, while on Androgel.  Sexual function is significantly more complex than testosterone.
 
The marketing of Androgel  as a drug which can restore your sexual function is in part the cause of the maker's problems.  Men are buying the drug when they do not need it because doctors who know nothing about sexual function are prescribing it for sexual function, and not because the man really needs it.
 
I have lost not one pound or built one muscle while on testosterone treatment for several years now.  This is all myth.
 
THE BENEFIT
 
Oh god, the disabling hot flashes are gone.  My mood has stabilized.  My cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar and blood pressure are all down.  The only change to my sexual function is, it has decreased.  For me the primary benefit has been to my heart health.  If you listen to these commercials you should not take Androgel because it causes heart problems.  The supporting study is junk science which I am sure will be debunked if any of these cases make it to trial.  The only valid study will have men with the same low testosterone levels with one group taking the medication and the other not taking the medication.  You have to eliminate men with heart disease.
 
 
This is an important chart.  Check your age group.  Remember when all of this started several years ago mine was at 155.  I am in the 50-59 group.  Before being put on a double dosage, my level had dropped to 35 on a single dosage.  On Friday I got my latest test results and on a double dosage it is at 299. 
 
Part of the problem with testosterone replacement therapy is, doctors do not even agree on how to test.  We know for sure when you put on the Androgel you will get a big spike in your levels.  This is why some doctors insist that you do the test before 10 a.m. and before you put on your dosage for the day.  Others say it does not matter.  Commonsense tells me you will get a spike right after you apply the gel.
 
The 35 reading was done before 10 a.m. and before I applied the day's single dosage.  A double dosage puts me at 299, if the test is done before 10 a.m., and before application of the day's dosage.
 
 
 
The above chart shows why I have been diagnosed with secondary hypogonadism.  When my level dropped to 35, I was tested for FS and FSH and we learned I basically did not have any.  This is a hypothalamus function.  The hypothalamus produces gonadotropin, which causes for the creation of FS, which in turn in the pituitary sends the signal to the testes to produce testosterone.
 
MONITORING
 
A PSA is done every 4 months to insure the treatment is not causing problems with my prostate.  My last three tests show my PSA is getting better with each test - 1.7, 1.3, 1.21.  The last was done on Monday.  The 1.7, was an increase from 1.4, which raised a yellow flag.  But it will take two increases because a red flag is raised.
 
I have treated Sleep Apnea.  So this is a not a concern for my doctors.  If you think you have Sleep Apnea you should seek treatment for that before you go on testosterone replacement therapy.
 
If you have heart disease and your doctor prescribes therapy, see a different doctor.  It is not the manufacturer's fault your doctor does not know the rules
 
UNRESOLVED PROBLEMS
 
The fatigue is getting worse.  My biggest concern is the disorientation.  Also my reading is suffering big time.  The VA is staying on top of it.  The MRI has shown something, but there is no neurologist in the LRGV qualified to treat the potential problem which could be impacting the hypothalamus and pituitary.  Among other things [other things are what they are searching for a qualified neurologist] I have empty sella syndrome.   The VA has hired a private company to search out a qualified doctor.  They called me last Monday to let me know they are working on it.  In all likelihood I will have to go to SA, Dallas, or Houston.
 
Low testosterone is more than a blood test.  The entire system is very complex.  It is basically a new area of medicine changing with every minute.  My eye surgeon seems to know more about the vitamin D deficiency [a hormone btw] than a lot of the primary care doctors.  They send their patients to her for headaches and visions problems only to have her order the blood work which shows vitamin D deficiency.  In men a study has linked it to low testosterone.
 
BACK TO MeTV
 
I love MeTV, but hate their commercials.  It is sad how lawyers can use an incomplete study to stir people up into suing.
 
For me, even on a double dosage, there is no indication of heart problems.  My PSA is awesome.  My Sleep Apnea is under control.  In fact my last machine came to me free as part of a national study.  I even got paid to participate in the study.  The new machine is amazing and should be on the market soon.
 

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