November 6, 2014 — AbbVie, Inc., manufacturer of the blockbuster testosterone gel product AndroGel, has reported consistently falling sales figures since last year.
In a third-quarter earnings report, AbbVie said sales of AndroGel fell 6.7% to $232 million, following a 15.6% drop in the second quarter of 2014.
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, AbbVie and Eli Lilly spent $54.1 million on advertising, 13% less than the first half of 2013. Last year, overall sales of testosterone products dropped 6% and AndroGel sales dropped 10%.
The declining popularity of testosterone therapy reflects increasing concern about cardiovascular side effects.
Safety concerns emerged after two studies were published linking testosterone therapy with cardiovascular risks. One study found a doubled risk of heart attack for men over 65 on testosterone. The other study found a 30% increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and death. The FDA is now investigating these side effects and AbbVie is conducting new safety studies.
Testosterone injections have been around since the 1950s and a number of studies have linked them to an increased risk of blood clots. However, it wasn’t until the last decade that treating “Low T” became mainstream. The boom was largely driven by AndroGel, which was promoted as an easy-to-use treatment for fatigue, sexual dysfunction, loss of muscle mass, and other common ailments.