Testosterone vs. Synthetics
What is the Optimal Form of Testosterone for Replacement Therapy?
Testosterone USP is natural testosterone that has been approved by the United States Pharmacopoeia and is available as a bulk chemical. Upon a prescription order, compounding pharmacists can use Testosterone USP to prepare numerous dosage forms.
The term “testosterone” is often used generically when referring to numerous synthetic derivatives, as well as natural testosterone. Confusion is responsible for conflicting data in the medical literature about the benefits and risks of testosterone therapy. Studies must be reviewed carefully to determine the form of testosterone that was used. Natural testosterone must not be confused with synthetic derivatives or “anabolic steroids,” which when used by athletes and body builders have caused disastrous effects. For example, administration of synthetic non-aromatizable androgens, like stanozolol or methyltestosterone, causes profound decreases in HDL-C (“good cholesterol”) and significant increases in LDL-C (“bad cholesterol”). Yet, hormone replacement with aromatizable androgens, such as testosterone, results in lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels while having little to no impact on serum HDL cholesterol levels. Proper monitoring of laboratory values and clinical response are essential when prescribing testosterone replacement therapy.
The only absolute contraindications to androgen replacement therapy are the presence of prostate or breast cancer. “Although it is known that the clinical course of prostate cancer is accelerated by testosterone, its incidence is not increased by [testosterone] administration… There is even no clear evidence that testosterone replacement accelerates the development of BPH.”
Drugs Aging. 1999 Aug;15(2):131-42.
Risks versus benefits of testosterone therapy in elderly men.
Click here to access the PubMed abstract of this article.
Patients using testosterone should seek medical attention immediately if symptoms of a heart attack or stroke are present, such as:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
- Weakness in one part or one side of the body
- Slurred speech