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testosterone pellets for male hormone replacement

by Chris Steidle, MD

Testosterone pellets (Testopel), placed under the skin, are another way to make testosterone directly available to the bloodstream for male hormone replacement. The pellets are made of crystals of pure testosterone that is released very slowly over time.

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The area where the pellets are to be implanted is numbed with a shot of local anesthetic and the testosterone pellets, usually six to ten, are introduced by way of a needle most commonly into the fat of the buttock. Occasionally, one of the pellets gradually works its way to the surface and is expelled but the puncture site usually heals over rapidly again with no harmful effects.

Currently, one brand name of testosterone pellets is available, Testopel.

Advantages of testosterone pellets:

  • Infrequent dosing, usually every three to six months
  • Slow rise in testosterone level that is maintained over long period
  • Long history of safe use

Disadvantages of testosterone pellets:

  • Requires surgical procedure
  • Some pain and discomfort
  • Inability to adjust dose easily

Testosterone pellet products and websites: 

Product Manufacturer Dosing Administration
Testopel® Bartor Pharmacal Co. Varies Implant under skin

References

Brawer, Michael K., MD. Androgen Supplementation and Prostate Cancer Risk: Strategies for Pretherapy Assessment and Monitoring. Rev.Urol. 2003;5 (suppl 1):S29-S33.

Caruthers, Malcolm, MD. The Testosterone Revolution. London: Thorsons; 2001.

Heaton, Jeremy, P.W., MD. Hormone Treatments and Preventive Strategies in the Aging Male: Whom and When to Treat? Rev.Urol. 2003;5(suppl 1):S16-S21.

Matsumoto, Alvin M., MD. Fundamental Aspects of Hypogonadism in the Aging Male. Rev.Urol. 2003;5(suppl 1):S3-S10.

McCulloch, Andrew, MD. Case Scenarios in Androgen Deficiency. Rev.Urol. 2003;5(suppl 1):S41-S48.

Nieschlag, E., Behre, H.M., Nieschlag, S. Testosterone: Action, Deficiency, Substitution. Berlin: 1998.

Steidle, Christopher P., MD. New Advances in the Treatment of Hypogonadism in the Aging Male. Rev.Urol. 2003;5(suppl 1):S34-S40.

Notes

1. Matsumoto, Alvin M. Fundamental Aspects of Hypogonadism in the Aging Male. Urology. Vol. 5, Supplement 1. 2003;S3-10.
2. Morley, JE. J Gend Specif Med. 2001;4:49-53.

Posted February 2004
Updated May 2009

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