Clinics are popping up all over the U.S. promising patients will feel “25 Again.” These clinics claim patients will look younger, have better sex, and lose weight. They prescribe hormones like testosterone and thyroid supplements, but sometimes have little oversight on how these medications interact with other drugs. A recent investigation conducted by CBS News reported dangerous health risks associated with these “fountains of youth.”
Patients in these clinics are often given hormone treatments, even though their lab tests showed no abnormality in their hormone levels. Some reported they suffered serious medical issues after receiving these hormones, like stroke and heart attack.
Would you take blood pressure medicine if your blood pressure was normal?
It seems like common sense that you wouldn’t take a medicine to treat a disease you don’t have. There’s the extra cost, unnecessary side effects, and possible harm to your health. Yet, unscrupulous hormone clinics are giving high doses of testosterone to men who have normal hormone levels, promising improved sexual vitality. They prescribe thyroid hormone to women desperate to lose weight, ignoring the many factors of health that lead to obesity.
Clinic ads claim “It’s Safe. It’s Easy. And it works!”
What the ads don’t tell patients is that the DEA has raided many such clinics for permanent harm and even deaths of patients, linked to their cavalier medical practices. But, doctors and pharmacists started raising alarms when more and more patients were seen in emergency rooms with complications from unnecessary hormone treatments.
Some pharmacists have decided to go even further to protect patients. Pharmacies have enacted policies to reject prescriptions from known problem clinics and practitioners.
There is very little oversight of these clinics by regulatory boards.
Only seven states currently have medical and nursing boards that track bad outcomes related to hormone therapy. Those states are: Kentucky, Texas, South Dakota, Kansas, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Idaho.
In March 2019, a 25Again clinic in the greater Louisville area was sued for prescribing a medication for weight loss to a patient, knowing the medication was not FDA-approved for that purpose. The clinic has been named in two other lawsuits, one for causing the death of a patient who had too much testosterone, and the other for prescribing a weight loss drug banned by the FDA. In Owensboro, two women have filed suit against a 25Again nurse practitioner who prescribed testosterone to their husbands, resulting in both the men’s deaths. The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure took swift action against this clinic chain, banning the then-medical director from practicing hormone medicine. But, that measure didn’t stop other clinicians at those clinics from continuing.
What can you do to protect your health?
Regardless of the treatment you choose, be sure to find a provider that:
- listens to your concerns in a relaxed environment
- explains your lab results and provides you copies
- relies on reputable scientific studies for the latest treatment guidelines
- explains the expected results and the limitations of treatment
If you’re considering seeing a hormone therapy clinic, seek out a reputable provider. Ask to speak to patients who have been treated by the same clinician.
Be skeptical of facilities that promise too-good-to-be-true results.
No medical intervention can “reverse aging” or cure complex health issues with a single drug. A knowledgeable pharmacist can work with a physician you trust to solve hormone-related illness!