Testosterone Implant | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

testosterone, Implant

All Brands

  • Testopel
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Highlights for testosterone

Implant
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Testosterone is used to treat males with hypogonadism. Males with this condition can’t make enough of the hormone testosterone. This drug is also used to help start puberty in males with delayed puberty.

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This drug comes as a pellet (called an implant) that your healthcare provider inserts under the skin, usually near your hip.

3

This drug is available as the brand-name drug Testopel. It is not available as a generic drug.

4

The more common side effects of this drug include acne, hair growth, breast enlargement, and frequent erections that last for a long time. Side effects also include decreased sperm count (at high doses), mood swings, headaches, and pain at the implant site.

5

In some cases, this drug can cause serious side effects. These effects can include heart attack, stroke, enlargement of your prostate gland, and increased risk of prostate cancer. They also include liver problems, blood clots in your lungs and the deep veins of your legs, and a large increase in your red blood cell count.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Heart problems

Long-term treatment with testosterone may increase your risk of heart problems. These problems include heart attacks and strokes, which can lead to death. Tell your doctor if you or a family member has a history of heart problems.

Liver problems

Using high doses of testosterone for a long period can increase your risk of liver problems such as liver cancer and hepatitis. These are serious conditions and can be life-threatening.

Prostate problems

Older men who are treated with testosterone may be at an increased risk of enlarged prostate and prostate cancer.

Blood clots

Using testosterone may increase your risk of developing blood clots in your lungs or in the deep veins of your legs. If you have sudden trouble breathing or have pain, swelling, and redness in your legs, tell your doctor right away. These could be signs of a blood clot.

Drug features

Implantable testosterone pellets are a controlled prescription drug. They are not available as a generic drug. This drug comes as an implant that your healthcare provider inserts under the skin near your hip. This procedure happens in a clinic.

Why it's used

Testosterone is used to treat males with hypogonadism. Males with this condition can’t make enough of the hormone testosterone. This drug is also used to help start puberty in males with delayed puberty.

How it works

Testosterone belongs to a class of drugs called androgens. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

See Details

How it works

Testosterone belongs to a class of drugs called androgens. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

This implant works by slowly releasing testosterone to help make up for the testosterone that your body can’t to make. Depending on your treatment, your implant may be replaced every 3–6 months.

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testosterone Side Effects

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More common side effects

The more common side effects that can occur with use of testosterone include:

  • acne

  • pain and swelling at the insertion site

  • hair growth

  • breast enlargement (gynecomastia)

  • frequent erections that last a long time

  • decrease in sperm count (at high doses)

  • mood swings

  • headache

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Heart attack. Symptoms can include:

    • chest pain
    • shortness of breath
    • discomfort in your upper body
  • Stroke. Symptoms can include:

    • weakness in one part or side of your body
    • slurred speech
  • Enlarged prostate gland. Symptoms can include:

    • frequent or urgent need to urinate
    • increased frequency of urination at night (nocturia)
    • difficulty starting urination
    • weak urine stream or a stream that stops and starts
    • dribbling at the end of urination
    • the need to strain while urinating
    • inability to completely empty your bladder
  • Prostate cancer. Symptoms can include:

    • increase in the number of times you urinate at night
    • problems starting urination
    • weak urine stream or a stream that stops and starts
    • blood in your urine, making it look pink or red
    • problems getting an erection
    • weakness or numbness in your legs or feet
  • Liver problems. Symptoms can include:

    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • stomach pain and swelling
    • swelling in legs and ankles
    • bruising easily
    • pale stool color
    • unusual or unexplained tiredness
    • loss of appetite
    • dark urine
    • yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
  • Blood clots in your lungs and the deep veins of your legs (venous thromboembolism). Symptoms can include:

    • swelling of your leg
    • pain in your leg
    • shortness of breath
    • chest pain or discomfort that worsens when you take a deep breath or when you cough
    • feeling lightheaded or dizzy
    • fainting
    • rapid pulse
    • coughing up blood
  • Increase in red blood cells (polycythemia). Symptoms can include:

    • flushed complexion
    • headaches
    • confusion
    • stroke
    • blood clots
    • tiredness
    • decrease in mental alertness
  • Excess fluid trapped in your body's tissues (edema). Symptoms can include:

    • swelling in your feet, ankles, or body
    • stretched or shiny skin
    • skin that retains a dimple after being pressed for several seconds
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Testosterone doesn’t cause drowsiness.

Make sure to check the insertion site from time to time to make sure there are no signs of infection. If you notice that the area is red, swollen, warm, or painful to touch, call your doctor right away.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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testosterone May Interact with Other Medications

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Testosterone can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well. Your healthcare provider will look out for interactions with your current medications. Always be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, herbs, or vitamins you’re taking.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

People with liver problems

If you have liver disease, testosterone may cause salt and water retention. This medication may also make your liver disease worse.

People with heart problems

If you have heart disease, testosterone may cause salt and water retention. This medication may also make your heart disease worse. Tell your healthcare provider if you have a history of heart attack or heart disease.

People with kidney problems

If you have kidney problems or a history of kidney disease, testosterone may cause salt and water retention. This medication may also decrease your kidney function and make your kidney disease worse.

Men with breast cancer

Do not take testosterone if you have breast cancer. This medication may make your disease worse.

Men with prostate cancer

Do not take testosterone if you have prostate cancer. Testosterone may make your disease worse.

People with very high red blood cell counts (polycythemia)

This drug may greatly increase your red blood cell count. If you have polycythemia, taking this drug can make your condition worse.

People with high cholesterol levels

This drug may increase your cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels may increase your risk of heart or blood vessel problems. If you have high cholesterol levels, your doctor will check your cholesterol levels very closely to make sure they do not go up while you take this drug.

People with diabetes

You may experience a large drop in your blood sugar levels. Your doctor may need to decrease your dose of insulin or diabetes drugs. Your doctor should watch your blood sugar levels closely while you take this drug.

People with a history of blood clots

Testosterone use may be associated with an increased risk of developing blood clots in your lungs or the deep veins of your legs. If you have a history of blood clots, talk to your doctor before using this drug.

For seniors

People aged 65 years or older who take testosterone may be at higher risk of developing prostate problems or prostate cancer.

For children

This drug should only be used in boys who have already reached adolescence, typically aged 14 years and older.

Testosterone may affect bone growth in children. This medication can cause children’s bones to mature more quickly than normal without increasing height. This process can result in shorter adult height.

When to call the doctor

Call your doctor if you notice that your symptoms of low testosterone (mood changes, poor concentration, erectile dysfunction, low sex drive, reduced growth of penis and testicles, breast growth, loss of body hair, and loss of muscle mass) do not improve or get worse.

Allergies

Testosterone can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Taking this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it could be fatal (cause death). Be sure to tell your doctor if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to this drug.

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How to Take testosterone (Dosage)

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Your doctor will determine a dosage that’s right for you based on your individual needs. The suggested dosage of testosterone varies depending your age, diagnosis, and general health. Tell your doctor about all health conditions you have before your healthcare provider administers the drug to you.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all

Your medication may not work as well. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

What to do if you miss a dose

Please contact your healthcare provider to schedule an appointment to implant the testosterone if you miss a scheduled dose.

How to tell if the drug is working

Your symptoms of low testosterone should improve and may resolve.

Testosterone is used for short-term and long-term treatment.

You may need your implant replaced every few months

Depending on your treatment, you may need to schedule an appointment to have your doctor insert a new implant every 3–6 months. Keep your appointments. It’s important to receive the medication regularly so it can improve your symptoms.

How long does it take?

Insertion of the implant takes approximately 15 minutes.

Can I drive home after?

You will be able to drive home after treatment.

Travel

Schedule any travel around your implant insertion appointments.

Clinical monitoring

Your doctor may order the following tests while you take this drug:

  • Cholesterol level tests. Testosterone may increase your cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels may increase your risk of heart or blood vessel problems. Your doctor may check your cholesterol levels to make sure they are not increased while you are taking this medication.
  • Hemoglobin and hematocrit tests. Rarely, testosterone may greatly increase your red blood cell count (give you polycythemia). Your doctor may order a hemoglobin and hematocrit level test to make sure your red blood cell count is not greatly increased while you are taking this drug.
  • Testosterone level tests. Your doctor will check your total testosterone level 3–6 months after you start taking this drug. Your doctor will do these tests yearly.
  • Prostate exam and blood tests. Seniors treated with this drug are at increased risk of enlarged prostate and prostate cancer during treatment. Your doctor may check your prostate and measure your prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels to make sure your prostate is healthy.
  • Liver function tests. Long-term use of this drug may increase your risk of liver problems, such as liver cancer and hepatitis. Your doctor may check your liver function after you start this drug to make sure your liver function is normal.
  • Bone tests. Boys who take testosterone for delayed puberty will have their bones checked with an x-ray exam every 6 months to make sure they are growing properly.

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

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How Much Does testosterone Cost?

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for testosterone on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on January 7, 2016

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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