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Low Testosterone Latest Updates (November 2012)

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Home >> Low Testosterone  >> Types of testosterone therapy available

Types of testosterone therapy available

PreparationsWay usedAdvantagesDisadvantages
Depot Injection Therapy Injected deep intramuscularly (IM) every 1 to 4 weeks (usually in the buttocks) • Testosterone absorbed directly into bloodstream • Requires regular IM injections
• Fluctuating levels of testosterone with high initial levels
• Mood swings as testosterone levels rise and fall (“roller coaster” effect)
• Local pain on injection
• Abscess formation (rare)
Long-acting Injection Therapy Injected IM every 3 months following an initial loading dose to stabilise testosterone levels • Testosterone absorbed directly into blood stream
• Infrequent dosing
• Provides a steady level of testosterone
• Avoids peaks and troughs over the day
• Fewer adverse events such as mood swings or blood changes
• Local pain on injection
• Abscess formation (rare)
Implant Therapy Small pellets of testosterone are placed under the skin (usually in the stomach or buttocks) under local anesthetic • Infrequent dosing - usually required twice a year
• Testosterone levels remain stable for up to 6 months as the pellets are slowly absorbed
• May be pain and/or local infection at the site where pellets are inserted
• Special equipment and minor surgical procedure required
• Occasionally a pellet is expelled by the body
• Scars after pellet removal
Gels A clear testosterone gel rubbed onto the shoulders, chest or back once a day – dries within a few minutes. Testosterone is released steadily from the skin into the bloodstream over a 24-hour period • Convenient sites of application
• Quickly normalizes testosterone levels
• Stable blood levels of testosterone throughout the day
• Less skin irritation than patches
• No operation needed
• Skin irritation may be a rare side effect
• Potential for transfer to partner or child
Patches Applied to various areas of the skin (generally on a non-hairy part of the upper body) • Efficient – steady absorption of testosterone over 24 hour period • May not achieve levels of testosterone as effective as other preparations, such as gels
• High chance of skin irritation
• May be inconvenient to apply and can be dislodged
Oral Therapy Forms of testosterone taken orally as pills or capsules – not recommended for long-term replacement of testosterone • Convenient • Considerable variation in absorption of dose
• Should be taken with a fat-containing meal
• Testosterone has to be in an altered form so that it is not broken down by the liver
• One such form (testosterone undecenoate) has to be taken 2 or 3 times a day to maintain adequate levels
• Another form (methyl testosterone) produces harmful side effects including liver damage and elevated cholesterol levels
Last Updated 04-11-2009