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New Gel Offers Boost To Sagging Men

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Posted by admin on September 17, 2014 at 11:49 am

Aging men suffering from low sex drives and sagging energy levels have something to get excited about.

A new hormone replacement therapy for men has hit the market. While AndroGel, a gel form of testosterone, is only available in the U.S. right now, it isn’t likely to stop Canadian men from crossing the border to get it, predicts a spokesperson for the Canadian Men’s Clinic in Toronto.

“We’ve got lots of men calling us with low sex drive issues,” said Jody Bresgi.

AndroGel, approved for use in men with abnormally low levels of testosterone, landed on U.S. pharmacy shelves last month. Developed by Unimed Pharmaceuticals in Deerfield, Ill., it is considered to be a safer and more convenient alternative to existing treatments, though a doctor’s prescription is still needed.

Canadian men flocked south of the border when Viagra was first introduced to deal with erectile dysfunction. Bresgi expects AndroGel will have the same appeal.

“We have tons of patients who I’m sure would be interested in taking a trip to the States,” she said.

Testosterone is a naturally occurring steroid produced by the bodies of both men and women. It’s best known, though, for supplying men with the classic, predominantly male traits of strength, aggression and virility.

It is estimated that half a million men in Canada suffer low testosterone, or hypogonadism. It can be caused by the loss of the testicles to testicular cancer, pituitary disorders, a genetic disorder called Klinefelter syndrome and normal aging.

Symptoms can include decreased sex drive, sadness, lack of energy, decreased bone density and reduced lean body mass.

The conventional treatment for men with hypogonadism has been to take deep muscle injections every two weeks. However, some men have complained that the hormone level peaks only after a few days of the treatment.

Skin patches that release testosterone into the bloodstream are the preferred choice among American men, but they, too, have their drawbacks: about 20 per cent of men have allergic reactions.

In Canada, meanwhile, the most popular method of treatment has been the testosterone pill, but it has to be taken two or three times a day, every day.

AndroGel, approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in February, uses the skin as a reservoir to release a steady amount of testosterone into the bloodstream.

It is a colourless, topical gel that men apply once daily to the shoulders, upper arms or abdomen. It costs about $100 US.

“It made a big difference in my life,” said Don Gelles, 57, a resident of Santa Clarita Valley in California, who took part in clinical trials for the treatment.

Without it, Gelles said, he feels “lethargic, depressed, (with) no libido at all.”

There are risks, however. If the medication is transferred to another person, it can cause unwanted hair growth or acne for that person.

Also, men who use the product over a long time increase their chances of prostate enlargement and prostate cancer.

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