Highlights How Testosterone Cypionate Works

Testosterone cypionate (Depo-Testosterone) is an injectable form of testosterone that’s used to treat low testosterone in adult males. It’s injected into your buttock muscle and lasts for a long time, so it only needs to be used once or twice a month.

What is testosterone cypionate?

Testosterone cypionate is a prescription drug. It comes as an injectable solution given into the muscle. Testosterone cypionate is a self-injectable drug. You can give this medication to yourself at home after your doctor shows you how to do so.

Testosterone cypionate is available as the brand-name drug Depo-Testosterone. It’s also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less than the brand-name version. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name drug.

Testosterone cypionate is a controlled substance. This means it’s regulated by the government.

Why it’s used

Testosterone cypionate is used to treat symptoms of hypogonadism in males. In this condition, males don’t produce enough of the sex hormone testosterone.

Low testosterone levels in males can lead to mood changes, poor concentration, erectile dysfunction (trouble getting or keeping an erection), and low sex drive. It can also cause reduced growth of penis and testicles, gynecomastia (breast growth), loss of body hair and muscle mass, anemia, and osteoporosis.

There are two types of hypogonadism: primary and hypogonadotropic. This drug may be used to treat both.

  • Primary hypogonadism occurs when the testicles can’t produce enough testosterone.
  • Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism occurs when there is damage to parts of the brain (hypothalamus or pituitary gland) that tell the testicles to produce testosterone.

How it works

Testosterone cypionate belongs to a class of drugs called androgens. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

Testosterone cypionate works to treat hypogonadism in males by replacing the testosterone your body is unable to make.

Testosterone cypionate side effects

Testosterone cypionate injectable solution doesn’t cause drowsiness, but it can cause other side effects.

More common side effects

The more common side effects of testosterone cypionate can include:

  • acne
  • pain and swelling at injection site
  • hair growth
  • gynecomastia (breast enlargement)
  • more frequent erections
  • erections that last longer than normal
  • mood swings
  • headache
  • decrease in sperm count when the drug is used at high doses

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Heart attack. Symptoms can include:
    • chest pain
    • shortness of breath
    • discomfort in your upper body
  • Stroke. Symptoms can include:
    • weakness in one part or side of your body
    • slurred speech
  • Enlargement of your prostate gland. Symptoms can include:
    • frequent or urgent need to urinate
    • nocturia (need to urinate more often at night)
    • trouble starting urination
    • weak urine stream or a stream that stops and starts
    • dribbling at the end of urination
    • straining while urinating
    • not being able to completely empty your bladder
  • Prostate cancer. Your doctor should check for prostate cancer or any prostate problems before and during treatment with this drug, especially if you’re 65 years or older.
  • Liver problems. Symptoms can include:
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • stomach pain and swelling
    • swelling in your legs and ankles
    • bruising more easily than normal
    • pale-colored stool
    • unusual or unexplained tiredness
    • loss of appetite
    • dark-colored urine
    • yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
  • Deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in the deep veins of your legs). Symptoms can include:
    • swelling of your leg
    • pain in your leg
  • Pulmonary embolism (blood clots in your lungs). Symptoms can include:
    • shortness of breath
    • chest pain or discomfort that gets worse when you take a deep breath or when you cough
    • feeling lightheaded or dizzy, or fainting
    • fast pulse
    • coughing up blood
  • Polycythemia (increase in your red blood cell count). Symptoms can include:
    • reddening in your face
    • headaches
    • confusion
    • stroke
    • blood clots
    • tiredness
    • decrease in mental alertness

Interactions between testosterone cypionate (Depo-Testosterone) and other medications

Testosterone cypionate (Depo-Testosterone) may interact with certain medications or supplements. Always let your doctor and pharmacist know about any other medications or supplements (including prescribed and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and dietary or herbal supplements) that you are currently taking. The list below does not include all possible drug interactions with testosterone cypionate (Depo-Testosterone). Please note that only the generic name of each medication is listed below.

Pharmacist tips for testosterone cypionate (Depo-Testosterone)

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    Taking testosterone cypionate (Depo-Testosterone) at higher doses than prescribed can lead to abuse or misuse. This can cause serious side effects, such as heart attack, heart failure, stroke, depression, hallucinations, and delusions. Take the medication as prescribed by your provider to prevent the risk of abuse.
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    Testosterone cypionate (Depo-Testosterone) shouldn’t be used for bodybuilding or improving your athletic ability because of the risks of serious side effects from abuse. The FDA has only approved this medication for the treatment of low testosterone in males. Take testosterone cypionate (Depo-Testosterone) as prescribed by your provider.
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    Testosterone cypionate (Depo-Testosterone) can often cause the breast area in males to become bigger, painful, or tender. This might continue throughout treatment with testosterone cypionate (Depo-Testosterone). Let your provider know if this becomes bothersome.
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    Testosterone cypionate (Depo-Testosterone) can lower your blood sugar. If you have diabetes, you might need to monitor your blood sugar more often while taking this medication. Make sure you know how to recognize and treat low blood sugar. Talk to your provider if you have diabetes and are experiencing any symptoms of low blood sugar, including shakiness, sweating, fast heartbeat, and confusion, because you might require changes to your medications.
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    Testosterone cypionate (Depo-Testosterone) is recommended to be stored at room temperature. Make sure to inspect the vial before injection for any particles or changes in color. If you see crystals in the vial, warm up and shake the vial to redissolve those crystals. Keep the medication in the box when you aren’t using it to protect it from light.