Testosterone levels in men may drop due to different reasons. One of the most common causes includes the aging process and hypogonadism that may occur at different ages. In any way, such a hormonal imbalance leads to numerous other health issues and decreases overall quality of life. Testosterone drugs help to overcome this problem. Here we’re going to unveil the most essential and valuable data about such medicines and their usage.
What is Testosterone Therapy
Testosterone replacement therapy or TRT is a treatment that aims at restoring the hormonal balance in the body of a man. The thing is that testosterone concentration may drop significantly due to the numerous reasons, such as:
- the aging process;
- certain diseases including hypertension, atherosclerosis, diabetes, etc.;
- obesity and sedentary lifestyle;
- smoking, abusing alcohol or other chemical substances.
If any of these reasons lead to a concentration below 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dl), the American Urological Association classifies the condition as a testosterone deficiency. Thus, if it is diagnosed, one of the treatment schemes includes replacement therapy.
When the body does not produce enough testosterone, we can help by providing it in different dosage forms. The main thing is to do this gradually and allow the body to benefit from this therapy without creating an overload.
Benefits of Testosterone Drugs
While these medicines increase the concentration of the hormones, the physical changes that a man feels are as follows.
Increased muscle mass
Testosterone is closely related to the build up of muscles. This is the primary reason why so many athletes take such supplements and always take care of T levels. Therefore, in the situation of a hormonal balance, the muscular mass increases due to physical activity and a proper diet. The same effect is achieved as a result of TRT.
Another important dimension of this treatment is sexual life. The higher the testosterone, the higher the libido. This connection is fully backed by science and this is actually the reason for a higher sexual activity of men in their 20s and 30s. Thus, when the body has enough hormones it is more prone to arousal and leading an active and satisfying intimate life.
Furthermore, the main male hormone is closely linked to all metabolic processes. It helps to burn nutrients, create energy inside the body and spend it in an active way. That is why men on TRT feel more active and energetic not only in the bedroom but in all areas of life.
Surprisingly enough, this therapy also improves the functioning of the brain and positively influences decision-making and the ability to think fast and effectively. This happens because of the impact of the testosterone that activates the brain and makes its performance more accurate and clear.
Types of Testosterone Drugs
Now let’s see what exactly is included in the group of TRT medicines. Firstly, there are lots of them and in different dosage forms. Secondly, given such a variety, one definitely needs a consultation with a doctor who will help to select the best option.
Thus, several blood tests are required to determine the testosterone concentration and the required dose of a corresponding medicine. In addition, it’s crucial to take into account the overall condition of the patients and those ways of administration that are preferable.
Such injections as depo-testosterone and other options have two modes of utilization, namely:
- a short-acting option when one shot is made every 1 or 2 weeks;
- a long-acting option with the breaks between the doses from 4 to 10 weeks.
The injections are made in the muscles by a specialist. This way is affordable and one of the most common in modern practice.
Topical dosage forms include patches, gels and creams such as Androderm, AndroGel, Axiron, Fortesta, Testim, Vogelxo, Bio-T-Gel and others. The rules of their application are quite easy:
- Patches are applied to the skin for 24 hours. Their dose is from 2 to 5 mg. They can lead to skin irritation and they are also visible on skin that disturbs some patients. However, the toxicity level in this case is lower compared to other dosage forms.
- A gel may contain from 40 to 100 mg of an active ingredient and one should know the exact amount for application. The therapy usually starts from the lowest dose that is gradually increased. One must avoid skin-on-skin contact with other people in the place of application for at least 6 hours. This is crucial for children and pregnant women.
Thus, these dosage forms are quite easy to use and they bring less damage to the digestive system due to the way of their application.
At last, there are also numerous pills that contain methyltestosterone or other chemical derivatives of this compound. They come in different dosages from 200 to 400 mg and are taken two times per day. There is some evidence of more pronounced side effects in this case. Still, an individual approach should be applied every time and for some patients this option is preferable.
Risks and Side Effects
Any hormonal therapy is quite a serious treatment that requires accuracy and attention. As for adverse effects of TRT, they include the following:
- Sleep apnea. If this problem is present, it can be intensified. This disorder means a temporary stop of breathing during the sleeping period. This may be dangerous for health, so this fact must be considered before starting TRT.
- Acne and other skin disorders. When the hormonal system loses balance, we always observe this on the skin. The same may happen when we apply outer hormones, as the body needs time to get used to this situation. If acne persists, one may need additional anti-inflammatory remedies and special cosmetics to soothe the skin.
- Noncancerous prostate growth. As testosterone plays a crucial role in the development and work of the reproductive system, a sudden increase in its concentration sometimes leads to this side effect and even may lead to cancer. That is why the condition of the prostate should be closely followed during TRT.
- Polycythemia. This hormone also enhances the production of red blood cells. This is a good effect, as these cells provide oxygen to the body. But when their concentration is beyond the norm, this thickens the blood and may lead to severe side effects including strokes.
Keep in mind that these probable adverse effects and risks require some time to develop. That is why TRT must proceed under the guidance of a specialist who will help to prevent these situations.
Who Should Not Take Testosterone?
In addition, there are also some contraindications that should not be neglected. The following situations make TRT too dangerous and associate it with high risks. In these cases, other approaches to cure testosterone deficiency such as dietary and lifestyle changes, taking supplements and others can be applied.
Breast or prostate cancer
Cancer types that are linked to the reproductive system make TRT and other hormonal therapies impossible. The thing is that the permanent intake of synthetic hormones may itself lead to the development of these diseases. Therefore, if they are already present or if the risk of their occurrence is too high, it’s better not to use this therapy.
Again, this is the reason why a patient requires a proper examination and diagnostics before starting TRT. Breast and prostate cancer often go unnoticed at the early stages so it’s recommended to check the body for their signs.
Cardiomyopathy, heart diseases
One more contraindication includes severe diseases of the cardiovascular system, especially those that are related to the heart. As we have already seen, the main male hormone has a powerful boosting effect on the body and enhances all the metabolic processes. This creates an additional load on the heart.
In case, the latter is rather weak and prone to strokes or other diseases, this can worsen the situation dramatically. That is why TRT is not used for patients with cardiomyopathy and any hormonal medications are prescribed cautiously. If one can avoid their intake, it’s better to follow this path.
In short, TRT is a useful approach for those patients who require an external source of essential male hormones. Given the wide range of testosterone drugs available, the patient must first undergo a proper diagnosis and then obtain a prescription from a doctor. To avoid such effects, therapy should be carried out under the guidance and supervision of a specialist. Then it will give the desired effect without any complications.
This group includes injections like depo-testosterone, oral drugs like methyltestosterone and topical dosage forms (gels and patches) like Androderm and AndroGel.
There are numerous options that contain testosterone or its salts. The exact medicine should be selected individually by a specialist.
This group includes depo-testosterone, methyltestosterone, Androderm, AndroGel and many other drugs.
Such medicines as Jatenzo, Kyzatrex and Tlando contain this hormone and are used as oral dosage forms.