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Testosterone Injections: Unleash the Benefits, Mind the Side Effects

prescription testosterone injection side effects

Prescription Testosterone Injections: The Risks You Need to Know Before You Take the Plunge

Testosterone replacement therapy is a common treatment for men with low testosterone levels. While it can be an effective treatment, it's important to be aware of the potential side effects before you start taking it.

Potential Side Effects of Prescription Testosterone Injections

Some of the most common side effects of prescription testosterone injections include:

  • Increased red blood cell count. This can lead to a number of problems, including blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes.
  • Acne. Testosterone can cause the sebaceous glands in your skin to produce more oil, which can lead to acne breakouts.
  • Hair loss. Testosterone can cause hair loss in some men.
  • Prostate enlargement. Testosterone can cause the prostate gland to enlarge, which can lead to problems with urination.
  • Liver damage. Testosterone can damage the liver in some men.
  • Mood changes. Testosterone can cause mood changes, including aggression, irritability, and depression.
  • Sleep problems. Testosterone can cause sleep problems, including insomnia and sleep apnea.

Who is at Risk for Side Effects of Prescription Testosterone Injections?

The risk of side effects from prescription testosterone injections varies depending on a number of factors, including:

  • Age. Men over the age of 50 are more likely to experience side effects from testosterone injections.
  • Health conditions. Men with certain health conditions, such as heart disease, liver disease, or prostate cancer, are more likely to experience side effects from testosterone injections.
  • Dosage. The higher the dose of testosterone you take, the greater the risk of side effects.
  • Type of testosterone. There are different types of testosterone injections, and some are more likely to cause side effects than others.

Alternatives to Prescription Testosterone Injections

If you are concerned about the side effects of prescription testosterone injections, there are a number of alternatives that you can discuss with your doctor. These alternatives include:

  • Testosterone patches. Testosterone patches are applied to the skin and release testosterone slowly over time.
  • Testosterone gels. Testosterone gels are applied to the skin and absorbed through the skin.
  • Testosterone implants. Testosterone implants are small pellets that are inserted under the skin and release testosterone slowly over time.

Prescription Testosterone Injection Side Effects: A Comprehensive Guide


Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) involves injecting testosterone, a hormone naturally produced by the body in decreasing amounts as men age. While TRT can improve symptoms of low testosterone, such as fatigue, low libido, and muscle loss, it also comes with potential side effects that should be carefully considered before starting treatment.


  • Testosterone injections can increase sebum production, leading to acne breakouts.

Mood Changes

  • TRT may affect mood, causing irritability, aggression, or depression.

Increased Red Blood Cell Count

  • Testosterone can stimulate red blood cell production, increasing the risk of blood clots.

Liver Damage

  • Rarely, TRT can damage the liver, particularly in high doses or prolonged use.

Male Infertility

  • Testosterone injections can suppress sperm production, reducing fertility.

Breast Enlargement

  • TRT can increase estrogen levels, leading to breast enlargement (gynecomastia).

Testicular Atrophy

  • Testosterone injections may cause the testicles to shrink (atrophy) due to reduced natural testosterone production.

Sleep Apnea

  • TRT can worsen existing sleep apnea or contribute to its development.

Cardiovascular Risks

  • Studies have raised concerns about potential cardiovascular risks associated with TRT, though more research is needed to determine the exact relationship.

Other Possible Side Effects

  • Pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea

Management of Side Effects

Managing TRT side effects involves addressing the underlying cause and finding appropriate mitigation strategies.

  • Acne: Topical medications, oral antibiotics, or lifestyle changes may help.
  • Mood changes: Therapy, stress management techniques, or dose adjustments may be beneficial.
  • Increased red blood cell count: Phlebotomy (blood donation) may be necessary.
  • Liver damage: Dose reductions or discontinuation of TRT is typically required.
  • Male infertility: Fertility preservation options should be discussed before starting TRT.
  • Breast enlargement: Medications such as tamoxifen may be prescribed.
  • Testicular atrophy: No treatment is usually required, but close monitoring is essential.
  • Sleep apnea: Weight loss, sleep positioning changes, or a CPAP machine may help.
  • Cardiovascular risks: Regular checkups and lifestyle modifications are crucial.


Prescription testosterone injections can provide benefits for men with low testosterone, but potential side effects should be carefully considered. Individuals considering TRT should fully understand the risks and work closely with their healthcare provider to manage and mitigate any adverse effects.


  1. Who is a candidate for TRT?

Individuals with confirmed low testosterone levels and symptoms such as fatigue, low libido, and muscle loss may be considered for TRT.

  1. How often are testosterone injections given?

The frequency of injections varies depending on the type of testosterone used and individual needs. Some formulations require daily or weekly injections, while others may be given every few weeks or months.

  1. How long does it take for TRT to work?

Most men experience improvements in symptoms within a few weeks of starting TRT. However, optimal results may take several months to achieve.

  1. Are there any natural alternatives to TRT?

Lifestyle modifications, such as exercise, weight loss, and stress management, can help improve testosterone levels naturally. However, they may not be effective for all individuals.

  1. What are the long-term risks of TRT?

Long-term studies on the safety of TRT are ongoing. However, potential risks include cardiovascular problems, prostate enlargement, and blood clots.