Approved in 2008, Testopel was the first testosterone pellet implant for men with no or low levels of testosterone. Requiring only a small incision, the cylinder-shaped pellet is only around 3mm in diameter and 9mm in length and is inserted under the skin of the hip or in fatty areas of the body. The pellet, made up of crystalline testosterone slowly releases testosterone into the blood over a long period of time. This serves as a supplement for those men with low testosterone levels, and can cure conditions related to low testosterone such as depression, erectile dysfunction and chronic fatigue. Through the use of a pellet implant rather than a daily pill or topical gel, male patients never have to miss a dose. A consistent amount of testosterone is delivered, so that the body doesn’t have to depend on the patient delivering the right amount.
Another advantage of Testopel, compared to other testosterone gel products, is that there is no worry when it comes to transferring it to others. Gels like AndroGel can come in contact with women and children, potentially producing male characteristics in women or early puberty in children. Additionally with Testopel, patients don’t have to worry about covering the applied area with clothing, because with Testopel there is nothing to apply. Rather than daily doses, a Testopel implant lasts from 3 to 4 months, requiring only a minor incision every few months to implant the pellet. And unless patients have an allergy to local anesthetics, there’s very little pain involved.
It should be noted that Testopel is only FDA approved for men. Women should not receive the Testopel implant. It is not approved for children either, as it can interfere with bone growth development. Men with breast cancer and prostate cancer should avoid Testopel as it can increase the risk and severity of cancer. Men prone to blood clots may want to avoid Testopel too, because it can increase chances of blood clot, and thereby heart attack and stroke. In men who experienced delayed puberty, Testopel must be used with caution, requiring more frequent monitoring of the wrist and hands due to the affect of the implant on bones. Further, Testopel can interact with insulin therapy and anticoagulants, so individuals taking those medications should be advised.
Testopel has its fair share of side effects. As with any procedure, it is possible for the incision site to become infected. If the wound does show signs of infection, patients should seek treatment from a doctor for it as soon as possible. Other side effects of Testopel are minor but can be cause for concern if they persist. Side effects such as more frequent, prolonged erections, body hair changes, baldness, acne, and changes in sex drive may occur. In addition, some individuals may experience anxiety, mood changes and headaches. Nevertheless, a doctor will only continue to prescribe the medications if together patients and their doctor deem the benefits to outweigh the risks.