The lawsuit that lawyer Brandon Bogle is leading at the law firm of Levin, Papantonio has me thinking a lot about the battle of Fact vs. Fiction in today’s media-rich world.

Create a Weebly website, throw your ideas up there, grab some stock photography, take a few notes on Google Analytics, and suddenly you can create “News” in whatever version that you, personally, would like it to be.  That’s the nature of the Internet; anyone can build a site, anyone can generate an audience, and anyone can manipulate information to suit their purpose.

The Internet, for the most part, is an honor system.  We have to trust that an item posted to the New York Times site is based on real facts from boots on the ground reporters.  We have to believe that the doctors and experts on WebMD know their stuff.  And of course, on the basis of a picture and a few words, we try to choose our potential partners for life.

Low-T’s Fictional Rise And Dangerous Results

Mixed into all this – something we’ve almost had to table in our minds or ignore the real implications of – is that nearly everything we read, even on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, is driven by corporations who place articles, advertising and social media communications everywhere.  Of course, these same corporations make multi-billions of dollars as a result of all these communications.  As a result, the line between truth and “spin” is not just blurred, it’s nearly opaque.  Let’s face it, after a while all of us can get used to an idea we see over and over, regardless of its truth.

It’s to this kind of fictional characterization that I attribute the Low-T campaign from pharmaceutical manufacturers like AbbVie, makers of the most popular of the testosterone therapies, AndroGel®.   As I’ve written previously, testosterone therapies do not treat or help the natural effects of aging in males.  In other words, this whole Low-T industry is based on a lie.  The lie that every aging male who is looking for renewed energy, maintained muscle mass, maybe a little zing in his love life, is spending his money and wasting his time on products that don’t help him.  An FDA Advisory Committee panel recently reached similar conclusions when it voted nearly unanimously to require drug manufacturers to clearly label this fact on their testosterone products.

The Facts On Low Testosterone And The Effects Of The Fiction

Testosterone was approved by the FDA to treat hypogonadism, a male condition characterized by a severe deficit in testosterone levels associated with rare pituitary or testicular diseases.  What’s important to note here is what the Mayo Clinic relates as the true symptoms sufferers of clinically diagnosed hypogonadism may feel:

  • Erectile dysfunction
  •  Infertility
  • Decrease in beard and body hair growth
  • Development of breast tissue (gynecomastia)
  • Loss of bone mass (osteoporosis)

The clinical description goes on to say “Hypogonadism can also cause mental and emotional changes. As testosterone decreases, some men may experience symptoms similar to those of menopause in women.” (1)  However, some of these symptoms can occur as part of the natural aging process, and for these men, there is little to no evidence that testosterone will improve those symptoms.  The unfortunate reality behind testosterone use by the millions of men who have been drawn in by the fictional treatment for real life aging symptoms is that many of the users are suffering serious side effects.

The Dangerous, Real Life Side Effects Of Testosterone Use

For those not truly suffering from hypogonadism, years of independent testing and most recently a study published in the Journal of American Medicine, reveal a dramatic connection between pharmaceutical testosterone use and heart attacks, cardiac episodes and strokes.  The fact remains that real-life testosterone users are suffering real-life painful, injurious consequences as a result of a fictional campaign created by a pharmaceutical industry driven by dollars.

The saga – the true story – continues.


Ellen Barnett is a frequent contributor to