Generic name: Testosterone pelletsBrand names: Testopel
Testopel pellets contain testosterone, the sex hormone that is responsible for growth and maintenance of male physical characteristics. Testosterone is a member of the androgen family of steroids responsible for the growth spurt that happens during adolescence. Testopel is used to treat low testosterone levels brought on by age, tumors, injury, radiation, or a condition present from birth. It also is used to stimulate puberty in boys who have a family history of delayed puberty.
In addition, testosterone is sometimes used to treat certain types of breast cancer.
Testosterone and other androgens can have serious, long-lasting side effects. They should only be used as prescribed by your doctor.
Testopel pellets are implanted under the skin by your doctor. Their effects last for three to four months and sometimes for as long as six months. Your doctor will perform periodic blood tests to make sure that Testopel is working correctly and is not having adverse effects.
Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue using Testopel.
Men with a history of breast or prostate cancer should not take Testopel. Androgens such as testosterone should never be used by pregnant women.
In rare instances, Testopel pellets may be expelled due to improper insertion or infection. Contact your doctor if you notice any of the pellets coming out, or if you have an infection with redness, swelling, or pus.
Testopel can cause a buildup of fluids in the body. People with a history of heart, kidney, or liver problems should use Testopel with caution. Contact your doctor if you experience too frequent or persistent erections, nausea, vomiting, changes in skin color, or ankle swelling.
Testopel should be used very cautiously in children. The hormone may cause bones to mature and stop lengthening before they should. If Testopel has been prescribed to treat delayed puberty, the doctor will take x-rays every 6 months to make sure the bones are growing properly.
When given for breast cancer, androgens can leach calcium from the bones and cause a buildup of calcium in the blood. If this happens, androgen therapy must be discontinued.
In people with diabetes, Testopel may reduce blood sugar levels. If you are diabetic, your doctor will want to watch you closely.
You should be aware that men treated with androgens have an increased risk of prostate and liver problems, including prostate and liver cancer.
The safety and effectiveness of Testopel for improving athletic performance have not been established. Due to its potentially serious side effects, it should never be used for that purpose.
If Testopel is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Testopel with the following:Blood thinning drugs, such as CoumadinOxyphenbutazone (Oxalid, Tandearil)Insulin
Androgens such as Testopel can cause masculinization of the genitals in a developing female baby, and should never be used during pregnancy.
It is not known whether androgens make their way into breast milk. If Testopel is essential to your health, your doctor may advise you to discontinue breastfeeding until your treatment is finished.
The dosage of Testopel depends on the age of the patient and the condition being treated. The dosage is adjusted according to the medication's effectiveness and any adverse reactions it may trigger.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy in Men
The usual starting dose is 150 milligrams to 450 milligrams (2 to 6 pellets) implanted by your doctor every 3 to 6 months. If you are currently getting injections of 75 milligrams of testosterone each week, the doctor will implant 6 pellets; if you are getting 50 milligrams each week, the doctor will use 4 pellets.
Delayed Puberty in Adolescent Boys
The dosage level for delayed puberty is generally lower than the dosage for testosterone replacement therapy. The doctor may begin with a low dosage and gradually increase it as puberty progresses, or begin with a higher dose to induce puberty and then lower the dosage. The doctor will take into account the boy's age and stage in development when determining the dosage. The Testopel pellets usually are implanted for only a limited period, such as 4 to 6 months.
There have been no reports of massive androgen overdose. However, any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose of Testopel, check with your doctor immediately.