Posts Tagged ‘Testopel’

Pain Pills Won’t Put Potency In Your Penis

April 25, 2017

There’s a opioid epidemic in the United States as the number of prescriptions written for opioids has skyrocketed over the years. From 1991 to 2013, the total number of prescriptions written for opioid painkillers skyrocketed by 172%. It is estimated to cause nearly 40,000 deaths in the United States which is more than those people who died in car accidents each year.  Besides the risk of death and havoc on the user and his\her family, opioids cause a deficiency in testosterone which significantly impacts a man’s sexuality.

Testosterone deficiency is an underappreciated consequence of using opioids.

Understanding the risks and the potential treatment options available may help minimize the impact of opioids on testosterone levels. This blog will discuss the relationship between opioid use and testosterone deficiency.

Yes, it is true that opioids are well-known to be highly effective at managing pain. Also well-known is their negative impact on testosterone levels in men taking these potent pain killers.   Interestingly, even with the recognition of this phenomenon, this side effect of reducing testosterone remains an underappreciated consequence of treatment.

Testosterone deficiency can lead to serious health consequences. Symptoms include reduced libido, erectile dysfunction, osteoporosis and decreased bone density, fatigue, depressed mood, reduced muscle mass, poor concentration, and sleep disturbances. As such, testosterone deficiency also impacts quality of life and may even be involved in the development of heart disease.

New Findings

In a large study a higher risk of low testosterone was found with opioids. Data revealed that men on long-acting opioids were significantly more likely to be testosterone deficient.

Treatment Options

The management of low testosterone levels in men taking opioids begins with the checking the symptoms of low T such as decreased sex drive, loss of energy, loss of bone and muscle mass and the confirmation with testosterone testing. However, monitoring of hypogonadism can be a challenge as patients may not necessarily report their symptoms.

Additionally, when possible, baseline serum testosterone levels should be obtained prior to initiating therapy with potent pain medications. Testosterone levels could then be recorded at regular intervals to monitor changes.

If a patient presents with opioid-induced low T, there are several possible treatment options that can be pursued. Strategies that allow for opioid reduction could be considered, such as the concomitant use of non-opioid pain medications. The good news is that discontinuing opioid therapy can result in the normalization of testosterone, with data suggesting recovery of symptoms may occur as fast as a few days to up to 1 month after stopping treatment. Unfortunately, this is an unlikely option for men suffering from chronic pain.

Lastly, testosterone replacement therapy is a viable option for some patients. Testosterone can be given via injections, topical gels, or pellets inserted beneath the skin to restore the normal level of testosterone that will improve the symptoms of low T.  Close monitoring by your doctor will help identify the development of low T levels. Men who are educated on this potential side effect of low T can also be active participants in helping to identify this complication. While several treatment options are available, the best course of action for treating hypogonadism will ultimately depend on symptoms and the blood level of testosterone.

Bottom Line:  Opioids can help with the control of pain but with the price of decreasing the testosterone level in men.  Men who use opioids should speak to their doctor about their symptoms of decrease in sex drive, loss of energy or loss of muscle mass are candidates for hormone replacement therapy.

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It’s Time To Talk About Testosterone

November 25, 2016

Testosterone (T) is a hormone produced in the testicles of men (and in the ovaries of women to a much smaller amount than in men.  Testosterone is often referred to as the male sex hormone.  It is normal for the testosterone level to decrease in men after age 30 at a rate of 1-3% a year but men don’t develop symptoms until late 40 or early 50.  During puberty, testosterone helps young boys develop male physical features like body and facial hair, i.e., a beard, and muscle strength.  Testosterone is also needed to help with the development of sperm.

Low T is defined as a decrease in the blood level of the hormone, usually less than 300ng\dl plus symptoms including decrease in libido or sex drive, lethargy, changes in mood, loss of muscle mass and decreased energy levels.

The diagnosis of low T requires a medical history of symptoms, a physical exam and a blood test that confirms a decrease in the hormone level.

Testosterone replacement is possible using injections of testosterone, topical gels, a nasal spray of testosterone, and insertion of testosterone pellets (Testopel).  The side effects of testosterone replacement include an increase in red blood cells, acne, reduction in size of the testicles, and infertility.  It is therefore important to discuss with your doctor if you are still planning to have a family as you should not use testosterone replacement therapy.

Caution:Don’t take testosterone if you don’t have medical reasons for doing so

Don’t’ take testosterone if your trying to achieve a pregnancy

If you use testosterone replacement, then get a routine check-up and blood tests at least every six months

Bottom Line: Millions of American men suffer from low T.  If you have symptoms and a blood test that confirms low testosterone, then you may be a candidate for testosterone replacement therapy.

Testopel for Hormone\Testosterone Replacement Therapy In Men

March 4, 2014

Millions of American men suffer from low T or decreased testosterone levels. The symptoms include a decrease in libido or sex drive, lethargy, decrease muscle mass, decrease in bone density, and even depression.

Treatment options include injections of testosterone, which can be done at the doctor’s office or by the man in his own home, testosterone gels, which are applied every day to the skin, and testosterone pellets or Testopel. Testopel is the only FDA-approved testosterone treatment on market designed to continually deliver testosterone for 4 – 6 months.
The three treatment options include injections of testosterone every two to three weeks, topical gels, and injections of pellets or Testopel under the skin which will last for 4-6 months.
The pellets are inserted under the skin using a local anesthetic. The procedure takes approximately 10-15 minutes for the insertion process. The procedure requires the creation of a small opening in the buttocks area and using a special insertion device to insert from 9-12 pellets. The number of pellets is dependent upon the testosterone level.

Testopel is contraindicated in men with an elevated PSA or who have an abnormal digital rectal exam.

Men have to discontinue the use of any blood thinners such as aspirin, Plavix, Coumadin, and even fish oil prior to the insertion of the pellets.
There is a small possibility that the pellets may exit the insertion site and that the insertion site may become inflamed and require the use of antibiotics.
There may be a small amount of pain at the injection site which can usually be controlled with Advil or Tylenol. The pain can also be reduced by applying ice to the insertion site.
It is important to understand that men receiving Testopel will need to monitor their PSA, blood counts, testosterone levels, and possibly his liver functions on a regular basis.
Men with breast cancer should not use Testopel. In patients with breast cancer, Testopel may cause elevated calcium levels in the blood.

Men who have or might have prostate cancer or have had an adverse reaction should not use Testopel .

Men treated with Testopel may be at an increased risk for developing an enlarged prostate and prostatic cancer.

Swelling of the ankles, feet, or body with or without heart failure may be a serious problem in patients treated with Testopel who have heart, kidney, or liver disease. In addition to your doctor stopping treatment with Testopel, your doctor may need you to take a medicine known as a diuretic

It is also a possibility that gynecomastia (enlarged breasts in men) frequently develops and occasionally persists in patients being treated for hypogonadism

Because Testopel pellets are placed under the skin it is more difficult for your doctor to change the dosage compared to medicines taken by mouth or medicines injected into the muscle (intramuscular injection). Surgical removal may be required if treatment with Testopel needs to be stopped.

In addition, there are times when the Testopel pellets may come out of the skin

While taking Testopel, your doctor may periodically do tests to check for liver damage. Your doctor may also check for increased red blood cells if you are receiving high doses of Testopel

Side effects of Testopel include more erections than normal or erections that last a long time, nausea, vomiting, changes in skin color, ankle swelling, changes in body hair, male pattern baldness, acne, suppression of certain clotting factors, bleeding in patients on blood thinners, increase in libido, headache, anxiety, depression, inflammation and pain at the implantation site and rarely anaphylactoid reaction (a sudden onset of allergic reaction)

Bottom Line: Androgen or testosterone deficiency is a common problem in middle age and older men. Help is available and Testopel is one solution.

Pellets for Improving Your Libido or Sex Drive

April 27, 2010

Nearly 30 million men suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence and nearly half that number have a decrease in their sex drive or libido.  However, many men believe that erectile dysfunction and diminished libido are the same thing.  It is important that men understand the difference between ED and libido.  ED is the inability to achieve and maintain an erection adequate for sexual intimacy with a partner.  Loss of libido is a decrease in the interest for sexual intimacy.  ED and loss of libido can be separate issues or can occur together as it is common for a man who suffers from ED for a prolonged period of time will also experience a decrease in libido.

What are the symptoms of decrease in libido and what are the causes of this condition?   A decrease in libido is usually a result of a decrease in the level of testosterone which is a hormone produced in a man’s testicles.  A decrease in libido is the most common symptom of testosterone deficiency.  Men with a decrease in testosterone also experience a lack of energy and often complain of lethargy.  Men with decrease in testosterone also experience a decrease in strength or endurance, lose height, fall asleep after dinner, and may even experience depression or a decreased enjoyment in life.

Now there are treatment options for low testosterone which include the insertion of testosterone pellets, Testopel, underneath the skin.  The pellets will boost the testosterone level for 4-6 months.

How is Testopel administered?

Other than the initial stick of a needle used to numb the insertion area, Testopel insertion is pain-free.

The insertion area is 3-4 inches below your beltline–approximately at the top of your rear hip pocket.

  • Each Testopel pellet is very small – about the size of a grain of rice
  • Testopel is placed just below the skin into your fat layer. Once implanted, most men have no awareness that the pellets are there.
  • The right number of pellets is based on the serum testosterone level
  • After Testopel is inserted, your doctor will close the implant site using Steri­Strips. Stitches are not needed. The area will then be bandaged and a cold compress applied.
  • Patients can return to work the same day that the pellets are inserted

The Testopel results in improvement in:

• Improved mood

• Increased sexual interest

• Restoration of erectile function

• Increased muscle mass

• Increased strength of bones

Bottom Line:  Testosterone deficiency is a very common disorder.  The diagnosis is made by a blood test that detects a low level of testosterone.  Treatment with Testopel is a very effective treatment option.