Senior Health Home > Precautions and Warnings With Testosterone Pellets
It may not be safe to use testosterone pellets if you have prostate cancer, liver disease, or certain other medical conditions. Warnings and precautions with testosterone pellets also include telling your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking to help reduce the risk of serious drug interactions. These pellets may also cause complications for some people, such as heart attacks, strokes, or liver cancer.
What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to receiving a testosterone pellet (Testopel®) if you have:
- Prostate cancer
- Breast cancer
- An enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH)
- Heart disease
- Liver disease, such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, or liver failure
- Kidney disease, such as kidney failure (renal failure)
- High cholesterol
- Increased red blood cells
- Any allergies, including to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medications you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Specific Testosterone Pellet Precautions and WarningsSome warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to receiving these pellets include the following:
- Like other testosterone medications, testosterone pellets may increase the risk for an enlarged prostate gland and stimulate the growth of prostate cancer cells. Your healthcare provider may evaluate you for prostate cancer before you start testosterone pellets, and periodically during treatment.
- You should know that this medication might cause breast enlargement in men.
- Extended use of high doses of testosterone (the active ingredient in testosterone pellets) may increase the risk for serious and potentially life-threatening liver problems, including liver cancer. Although testosterone pellets are not known to produce these problems, all potential risks cannot be ruled out.
- This product can cause a loss of calcium from the bone in people with breast cancer, which can cause an abnormally high level of calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia). Men with breast cancer should not receive testosterone pellets. If this medicine is given to someone with breast cancer and calcium levels increase, treatment should be stopped.
- Testosterone pellets may increase the number of red blood cells in your blood. This can cause blood clots, which increases the risk for other serious problems, such as a heart attack and stroke. Your healthcare provider will do periodic blood tests to monitor your blood cell counts.
- This medicine can affect long-term bone growth in children, potentially decreasing a child's future adult height. Children and adolescents using this medicine will therefore need to have their bone age checked every six months during treatment.
- Testosterone pellets can cause fluid retention (edema), which can be a potentially serious problem in people with heart, kidney, or liver disease. Contact your healthcare provider if you notice swelling of the ankles, legs, or feet. You may need to stop treatment. Your healthcare provider may also need to give you a medicine known as a diuretic to help your body clear the extra fluid.
- There is a chance that testosterone pellets could come out after being inserted under your skin. Contact your healthcare provider if you believe this has happened to you.
- Because the testosterone pellet is injected beneath the skin where it remains active for three to six months, it can be difficult for your healthcare provider to adjust your dose if needed. If treatment needs to be stopped, the pellet may need to be surgically removed.
- Your healthcare provider may do periodic blood tests during treatment to monitor your liver function, cholesterol, blood cell counts, and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level. It is important to keep all your appointments with your healthcare provider so you can be properly monitored during treatment.
- Testosterone pellets may react with a number of other medications (see Drug Interactions With Testosterone Pellets).
- This product is a pregnancy Category X medication. This means it is not safe for use during pregnancy (see Testopel and Pregnancy).
- It is unknown if this medicine passes through breast milk. If you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to receiving the drug (see Testopel and Breastfeeding).