Testosterone cypionate is a drug that is used to treat a number of medical conditions. It can also enhance quality of life during hormone replacement therapy. There are a number of conditions that prevent taking the drug; in addition, users have reported a number of side effects.
What Is It?
Testosterone cypionate is a long-acting, pharmaceutical form of the steroid hormone testosterone, and is produced by a number of drug companies. Testosterone increases muscle mass, promotes bone density and affects bone maturation. In men, it causes masculine characteristics during puberty, and produces sperm in the testicles. Chemically, the only difference between natural testosterone and testosterone cypionate is the attachment of an eight-carbon ester group in the latter. This ester group makes testosterone cypionate more difficult for the liver to break down and allows users to inject it less frequently during treatment. Testosterone cypionate is oil-based; delivery involves an intra-muscular injection.
The male production of testosterone begins to decline after age 25 at a rate of about 2 percent per year. This can cause a decrease in muscle mass and bone density, loss of energy, decreased libido, and a decline in overall mental health and well-being.
To alleviate or reverse these conditions and enhance quality of life, doctors have prescribed testosterone cypionate to supplement and/or replace the body’s natural production of testosterone. The standard dosage in hormone replacement therapy ranges from 50 to 400mg, injected every two to four weeks.
Testosterone can also treat osteoporosis. Testosterone cypionate has also been used to treat men suffering from low sperm production (hypogonadism) that results from hypothalamic or pituitary injuries or trauma. Also, doctors have used testosterone cypionate to treat adolescents experiencing delayed-onset puberty.
Testosterone cypionate can enlarge the prostates of elderly men. It is therefore not recommended for men who are suffering from prostate cancer or those who are prone to it. Men suffering from male breast cancer should avoid taking testosterone cypionate. Additionally, anyone allergic to hormones or any of the ingredients (the injection contains benzyl alcohol) should not take testosterone cypionate.
Those affected by liver disease (testosterone affects liver levels), coronary disease, chest pain, high cholesterol, or anyone who has had heart failure in the past should consult with a doctor first. Diabetic should discuss treatment with their doctors, as testosterone cypionate may affect blood sugar levels. During treatment, diabetics should monitor their blood sugar for any changes.
Women who are pregnant should avoid taking testosterone cypionate. It is considered a Category X drug, which means that it is known to cause birth defects in unborn fetuses.
Physiological Side Effects
Testosterone cypionate can cause a number of serious conditions, including high blood pressure, reduction of good cholesterol levels, jaundice (yellowing of the skin), and heart and liver disease.
It can also cause difficult urination (due to prostate enlargement), acne, greasy skin, and edema (swelling of feet and ankles).
As an androgen, testosterone cypionate can enhance male characteristics, including a deepened voice and the production of excess facial and body hair. Testosterone can convert to estrogen, and men might develop gynecomastia (male breast enlargement). This condition is not always reversible and may require surgery to correct.
Women are particularly susceptible to the masculinizing effects of testosterone, which may also included an enlarged clitoris, increased libido, and disruption of the menstrual cycle.
Psychological Side Effects
Testosterone cypionate can also influence a person’s mood and well-being. Users have reported excitability, increased aggression, depression and headaches.
Because Testosterone Cypionate must be injected into the intra-muscular tissue, a number of complications can result from improper administration. Failure to clean the needle or injection site can result in infection or abscesses under the skin. Also, not rotating the site of injection frequently can cause the buildup of scar tissue, increasing the pain of subsequent injections.