The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office has moved to suspend the medical license of a doctor who, investigators allege, indiscriminately prescribed potent testosterone replacement drugs such as Androgel in addition to powerful prescription pain medications, including OxyContin and Roxicodone when they weren’t appropriate and necessary for patients to take.
According to Newark’s Star-Ledger, Dr. Roger Lallemand Jr. wrote thousands of such prescriptions for patients visiting the three offices he maintained in Old Bridge and Asbury Park, New Jersey. The doctor told one patient, an undercover investigator with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, that he offered testosterone drugs to all of his patients.
He probably wasn’t exaggerating about that either. According to the Star-Ledger, in one case “a 34-year-old woman’s testosterone level ‘dangerously’ shot up to more than six times the high-end limit for an adult female after Lallemand prescribed an Androgel pump for her.”
Androgel and other synthetic testosterone drugs are normally prescribed to men as a means of bringing low testosterone levels up to normal. However, because the drug typically improves the user’s energy levels, muscle mass, and libido, it is often coveted by men who want to achieve superhuman levels of the hormone, as well as women who may use it for bodybuilding and other purposes.
Long-term use and abuse of Androgel and other synthetic testosterone drugs presents much the same risks as anabolic steroid abuse: increased stroke risk, liver damage, aggression, mood swings, and other serious adverse effects.
But Androgel users aren’t the only ones at risk. The drug, which comes in 1% and 1.62% formulas, is applied topically (externally) to the skin. Women and children exposed to the drug from contact with the user, his clothes, bed sheets, towels, etc., may begin to experience adverse reactions as well. For women, changes in hair distribution, an increase in acne, and other effects associated with excessive testosterone may occur.
Children exposed to the drug may exhibit unexpected sexual development and enlargement of the genitals, premature development of pubic hair, aggressive behavior, increased erections, and advanced bone age.
Health authorities worry that as use and abuse of Androgel and similar hormone replacement therapies skyrockets, so too will secondary exposures.
According to the Star-Ledger, the wife of one of Dr. Lallemand’s patients contacted the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners concerned after her 33-year-old husband’s testosterone levels shot to up to twice the high-end level for an adult male.
The Star-Ledger also noted that the newspaper published a “lengthy report” about Dr. Lallemand’s thriving hormone practice in December 2010, when the newspaper also published a story about “the widespread use of anabolic steroids and human growth hormone among law enforcement officers and firefighters.” The newspaper discovered that Dr. Lallemand treated several hundred police officers and firefighters in his practice at that time.