Patients with a diagnosed testosterone deficiency – also called low T in everyday language — benefit greatly from treatment with testosterone cypionate. As one of the best-studied medications approved for treating low testosterone in men and women, testosterone cypionate is safe, effective, and proven. Here, we’ll take a hard look at testosterone cypionate, its uses, which pharmaceutical manufacturers produce the highest-quality supplements, and costs, among other important considerations.
What is Testosterone Cypionate?
This medication is classified medically as an anabolic steroid (AAS) used to correct testosterone deficiencies in both men and women with low levels of the hormone. Pharmacologically, it is a testosterone ester. Testosterone cypionate acts in the body as an androgen receptor (AR) agonist, meaning that it binds to the various testosterone receptors throughout the body and activates them.
The elimination half-life of testosterone cypionate – the time it takes for the concentration of the drug in the blood to fall by 50% — is about 4.5 days. Therefore, most therapy protocols call for injections at least once per week or sometimes more, depending on individual circumstances.
As one of the standard medications that endocrinologists (hormone doctors) first look to for treating hormone imbalance, testosterone cypionate has been widely used since 1951. The first formulation of testosterone cypionate to enter the US market (and still the most widely prescribed form of the drug) is Depo-Testosterone. When used in TRT, the patient or provider injects carefully measured doses of testosterone cypionate into the muscle tissue (called an intramuscular injection), usually into the thigh muscle.
Testosterone Cypionate Uses
Testosterone cypionate is the chief component of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), the use of synthetic versions of the male sex hormone (androgen) to replace failing endogenous production in the testes in men (or ovaries in women). Although the medication is prescribed to both sexes, the most common beneficiaries are men who experience age-related declines in testosterone levels. For this reason, testosterone cypionate is often used as a potent anti-aging medicine. Men tend to lose 1% of their testosterone each year after levels peak in late adolescence.
While 1% loss might seem like a small figure, it adds up over time. Doing the basic math, we can see that an average 70-year-old man will have half the testosterone of a 20-year-old man. Even worse, researchers have begun to notice what is called generational declines in testosterone counts for men in the United States:
“Studies show that men’s testosterone levels have been declining for decades. The most prominent, a 2007 study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, revealed a “substantial” drop in U.S. men’s testosterone levels since the 1980s, with average levels declining by about 1% per year.”
In practical terms, this means, if you are a man living in America, that you are statistically like to have lower levels of testosterone than your father. He, likewise, has or had lower testosterone levels than his father at the same age. The bottom line: if you are an American man – even, as the data shows, a young and otherwise healthy man – you are increasingly like to suffer from testosterone deficiencies at a younger age than ever before. Because many doctors unaware of the current data will not regularly test their younger male patients for testosterone deficiencies (assuming their T levels are likely to be sufficient), you may not even be aware that you are battling hypogonadism.
The symptoms of low testosterone, which may be confused for those of other conditions, can be both mental and physical in nature:
- Anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions
- Erectile dysfunction
- Low libido (loss of interest in sex)
- Decreased muscle mass (known as “sarcopenia” in older men)
- Weakened bones (“osteoporosis” in older men)
- Hair loss
- Weight gain, particularly around the belly and waistline
- Poor cognitive function
- Memory loss
- Chronic fatigue
Women, in addition, are at risk of developing testosterone deficiency. In the female sex, the condition usually develops around age 45-55 during menopause. At this stage of life, the ovaries stop producing eggs and sex hormone levels drop, including testosterone. Many of the symptoms listed above for men apply to women with testosterone deficiencies as well. Women also can experience:
- Irregular periods (menstrual cycles)
- Vaginal dryness
- Painful Intercourse
The bottom line: testosterone cypionate is proven effective at treating and reversing the negative health impacts of low testosterone in both sexes.
Testosterone Cypionate Benefits
Let’s first understand the vital role that testosterone plays in overall health:
“Testosterone is a sex hormone that plays important roles in the body. In men, it’s thought to regulate sex drive (libido), bone mass, fat distribution, muscle mass and strength, and the production of red blood cells and sperm.”
The wide-ranging effects of testosterone in the body, not just for reproductive health, occur due to the presence of androgen receptors (ARs) located across every major organ system in the body.
Due to the location of androgen receptors throughout the body, again, the benefits of testosterone cypionate extend well beyond just promoting better sexual health.
Examples of the potentially life-changing benefits of testosterone cypionate, which are based on clinical data, include:
- Improved body composition (fat distribution)
- Greater lean muscle mass and increased strength
- Thicker bone density
- Renewed interest in sex (libido)
- Lowered LDL cholesterol and triglycerides (preventing harmful plaques in the blood vessels called atherosclerosis)
- Improved metabolism and glycemic control (blood-sugar regulation)
- Declining blood pressure
- Reduced systemic inflammation
- Harder, stronger erections (in men)
- Greater cognitive functioning
- Improved mood
- Overall improved quality of life
For older men and women, the anti-aging benefits of testosterone cypionate cannot be emphasized strongly enough:
“Testosterone therapy continues to hold promise for older men. Testosterone may be of greater use in special populations who are at risk for development of a catabolic state (eg, patients recovering from a long period of bed rest or joint replacement).”
Testosterone Cypionate Manufacturers
Testosterone cypionate is the name of the drug, but you may be more familiar with the brand names of the pharmaceutical firms that manufacture these supplements. Here is a rundown of the most common testosterone cypionate manufacturers licensed to sell their medications in the United States:
- Depo-Testosterone (manufactured by Pfizer)
- Andro-Cyp (manufactured by Keee)
- Andronate (manufactured by Pasadena)
- Depostomead (manufactured by Spencer-Mead)
- Durandro (manufactured by Ascher)
- Depotest (manufactured by Blaine)
- Jectatest (manufactured by Reid-Provident)
- Malogen CYP (manufactured by O’Neal, Jones, and Feldman)
*Note: For your health and safety, and also to ensure a positive outcome to therapy, only use licensed US testosterone cypionate products like the ones listed above.
Never gamble with your health by purchasing cut-rate testosterone supplements (or any other kind of pharmaceutical) from online vendors. In addition to the import of Third World testosterone medications being illegal, the practice is also potentially deadly. The World Health Organization found in one study that as many as 1 in 10 medical supplies from the Third World – places like China, India, or Africa – were either fake or substandard:
“This means that people are taking medicines that fail to treat or prevent disease. Not only is this a waste of money for individuals and health systems that purchase these products, but substandard or falsified medical products can cause serious illness or even death.”
By relying on the guidance of an experienced endocrinologist, you can rest assured knowing that you are getting your testosterone cypionate from a reputable vendor whose products are inspected by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
As mentioned in the previous section, the FDA has issued detailed guidance regarding obtaining and using testosterone cypionate.
The most popular brand of testosterone cypionate on the US market, Depo-Testosterone, comes in two concentrations: 100 mg/mL solution and 200 mg/mL solution.
The ingredients list for the 100 mg/mL solution includes:
- Testosterone cypionate — 100 mg
- Benzyl benzoate — 0.1 mL
- Cottonseed oil — 736 mg
- Benzyl alcohol (as preservative) — 9.45 mg
The ingredients list for the 200 mg/mL solution is similar and includes:
- Testosterone cypionate — 200 mg
- Benzyl benzoate — 0.2 mL
- Cottonseed oil — 560 mg
- Benzyl alcohol (as preservative) — 9.45 mg
If you have any known allergies to any of these additives, be sure to discuss them with your doctor during your consultation to avoid any adverse reactions.
The following groups of patients should not receive testosterone cypionate:
- Anyone with a known hypersensitivity to testosterone cypionate
- Men with carcinoma in the breast
- Men with carcinoma (suspected or confirmed) in the prostate gland
- Anyone with serious cardiac (heart), renal (kidney), or hepatic (liver) disease
As with any medication, the potential for adverse reactions, though rare, does exist. Patients and providers should look out for the following reactions to therapy, including through the use of regular blood testing and examinations before, during, and following its completion:
- Hypercalcemia (excessive calcium in the blood, potentially creating kidney stones and negatively affecting thyroid function)
- Liver dysfunction
- Prostatic hypertrophy (enlargement) and/or prostate cancer
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), and other cardiovascular events
- Gynecomastia (the abnormal enlargement of breast tissue in men)
The manufacturer (Pfizer) warns that the use of testosterone cypionate outside of clinical settings may lead to negative outcomes. Anabolic steroids are subject to abuse, which may lead to complications, including causing serious, potentially life-threatening cardiovascular and psychiatric conditions. Patients who receive therapy should receive regular testing of their hemoglobin and hematocrit levels to check for any abnormal/unhealthy fluctuations.
Testosterone Cypionate Comparison of Types and Prices
Drugs.com summarizes the current 2021-22 prices for Depo-Testosterone, the most commonly prescribed brand of testosterone cypionate:
“The cost for Depo-Testosterone intramuscular solution (cypionate 200 mg/mL) is around $31 for a supply of 1 milliliter(s), depending on the pharmacy you visit.”
In the chart below, we break down the typical costs of generic testosterone cypionate in major US pharmacies:
|Retailer||Cost (10ml of 100mg/ml)|
Popular testosterone cypionate brands with significant name recognition – such as Pfizer’s Depo-Testosterone – are typically more expensive than generic formulations. Accordingly, here are a few cost-saving tips for getting the best deals on high-quality testosterone cypionate:
- Shop at online pharmacies (which often offer significantly lower prices than brick-and-mortar competitors)
- When possible, look for more affordable generic alternatives to popular brand names
- Buy in bulk
- Use discount coupons when possible
- Check internet forums like this one regularly for hot tips from seasoned testosterone cypionate veterans who can offer unique insights