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What is testosterone?Testosterone is a naturally occurring human sex hormone. While both men and women have testosterone, it plays major roles in men’s health, including:
- Development of penis and testes
- Muscle and bone strength
- Sex drive and sperm production
- Facial and pubic hair growth
- Red blood cell production
Men with low levels of testosterone (low T levels) may experience a wide range of symptoms such as loss of energy, decreased sex drive, depression and mood swings, bone problems, weight gain, fertility issues, and others.
In women, low testosterone levels may cause physical symptoms like low libido and reduced bone strength, as well as mental health disorders, including depression in the worst cases.
When these symptoms impede one from having a normal life, testosterone therapy can be considered. The patient receives testosterone injections, a powerful hormonal treatment. Testosterone injections may also be considered for transgender men undergoing masculinizing therapy.
4 types of testosterone injectionsThere are several types of testosterone injections, including:
- Testosterone cypionate (Depo-testosterone)
- Testosterone enanthate (Xyosted and generics)
- Testosterone propionate
- Testosterone undecanoate (Aveed)
- Combination of testosterone
Testosterone injections must be injected through the muscles. Patients can self-administer the hormone at home using an injection kit (vial and syringes) or have a doctor or a nurse do it. It's usually administered weekly or monthly, although dosage and strength vary considerably depending on your condition and your doctor's prescription.
Testosterone does not need to be refrigeratedIf you've been prescribed testosterone injections, you should take extra precautions regarding how you store your medicine vials. Testosterone is a temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical product that needs to be protected from heat in order to stay fully effective.
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How to store testosterone?According to Pfizer, testosterone cypionate vials do not need to be refrigerated. But they must be stored at room temperature between 68° to 77°F (20° to 25°C) and away from light.
The same goes for other types of testosterones, including testosterone enanthate and Aveed.
But testosterone MUST be protected from heatSo, as a rule of thumb, testosterone should not be refrigerated. However, if you live in a place where the ambient temperature gets warmer than 77°F (25°C) and do not have air conditioning at home, you must find a cooling solution for your vials of testosterone.
While some people find DIY cooling systems, we highly recommend using medical-grade coolerssuch as the ones from 4AllFamily that guarantee your medicine is safe and effective. Our soft cooling cases are designed to keep temperature-sensitive medication like testosterone within a safe temperature range (room temperature) when it’s hot outside.
Related article: Tips for traveling with medications internationally.
Do not inject refrigerated testosteroneAlternatively, if the temperature is above 77°F (25°C) and you do not have any cooling solutions, you may consider storing your vials of testosterone in the refrigerator.
If you choose to do so, don’t inject refrigerated testosterone into your muscles. Wait for it to warm up before.
Testosterone cypionate and its carrier oil may crystalize when exposed to low temperatures, considerably increasing pain and swelling at the injection site.
If you notice any cloudiness, small particles, or white crystals in your vial, wait for the testosterone to re-dissolve before injecting by letting it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Related article: How to travel with syringes and injectable medicines?
What happens if testosterone is stored in heat?
All types of testosterones used for hormonal therapy are susceptible to degradation when exposed to temperatures above 77°F (25°C), which can significantly impact their effectiveness.
Besides, heat can promote bacteria growth, which may make your testosterone vials unsafe for use.
Never use a vial of testosterone that has been exposed to high temperatures for a prolonged period of time.
What if testosterone freezes?
Freezing temperatures can also seriously alter your testosterone. So, testosterone that has been frozen, even temporarily, isn’t safe for use, even if it has thawed afterward.
The same rule applies to most kinds of liquid injectable medicines, like insulin, for example.
Related article: What really happens when insulin freezes?
How long does a vial of testosterone last?If stored in adequate conditions, most vials of testosterone have an average shelf life of 24 to 36 months. However, there might be some variations depending on the type and brand of testosterone injections you're using, so always read the instructions and check the expiration date labeled on the vial.
Past that time, it's not like the hormone "goes bad," but it will become less effective as its chemical structure starts breaking down. As a result, it becomes less efficient, which could seriously impact the success of your testosterone therapy.
Are you receiving testosterone therapy? What kind of testosterone are you using? How do you store it at home?