Testosterone Pellets: Exploring The Uses & Side Effects!

The popularity of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) has grown considerably over the last three decades, precisely from the year 1993 when it was successfully established as Testopel.

Despite the knowledge that subcutaneous testosterone pellets were first developed in the 1940s, these had not gained significant popularity in the United States until approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1972. Noting the advancement of TRT ever since has incited some level of curiosity into how testosterone pellets can be utilized/inserted.

The current article also attempts to draw in on the side effects of this particular drug and recommends possible measures to alleviate those.

Testosterone Pellets – Its Uses, And Side Effects

As mentioned above, testosterone pellets help treat testosterone deficiency (hypogonadism) in males. Since it predominantly affects men above 45, administering/implanting these pellets subcutaneously in the testicles can effectively increase testosterone production.

The pellets are a boon to those suffering from hypogonadism. Apart from improving the sexual potency of men, these will enhance their quality of life as evidenced by existing studies and anonymous surveys.

Testosterone Pellets - Its Uses, And Side Effects


Since there was a mention of Testopel at the beginning of this article, this is what the brand name for the testosterone pellets goes by. Being cylindrically shaped with a diameter of 3.2 mm, these can be conveniently inserted/implanted within the testicles.

As with any subcutaneous drug, the testosterone pellets are also sterilized to reduce the chances of infection. These mostly come as 78 mg in each pellet, containing mostly testosterone of 75 mg.

The remaining or balance 3 mg comprises stearic acid NF 0.97 mg and polyvinylpyrrolidone USP 2mg.

It must be known here that the testosterone present in the pellets appears crystalline, and upon insertion, these start to slowly release the synthetic hormone to provide a long-acting androgenic effect.

Testopel is for those males diagnosed with testosterone deficiency, especially after puberty. For elderly males however, especially those found to have late-onset hypogonadism, this questions the safety and efficacy of the Testopel insertion and the subsequent risks involved there.

☑️ Side Effects

Research has highly pointed towards the risks of TRTs like Testopel/testosterone pellets in elderly men, where these have included low sperm production, development of metastatic prostate cancer or subclinical prostate cancer (even higher risk), acne formation, and erythrocytosis.

The other side effects of utilizing testosterone pellets have included the following.

  • Pain and swelling at the site of implantation: 
  • Increased frequency and prolongation of erections
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Acne formation
  • Changes in body hair.
  • Risk of cardiovascular incidents

Reducing Side Effects With Testopel (Testosterone Pellets)

If the pain, redness, and swelling typically experienced upon the insertion of the testosterone pellets do not go after a couple of days as expected, this will mandate an urgent medical checkup.

Home remedies to relieve the symptoms include ice application for 20 to 30 minutes every hour and as needed. For the pain, over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen should be considered per the physician’s advice.

The long-lasting and frequent erections experienced upon utilizing/inserting Testopel should immediately require an emergency room visitation. Priapism as it is medically termed, can permanently damage the penis, which cannot be reversed.

Next, the nausea and vomiting experienced after the insertion of the testosterone/Testopel pellets need to be urgently reported to a healthcare provider. Emergency room visitations are always recommended for grave reactions like abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, weakness, and headache.

For acne, washing one’s face regularly will help control/reduce its formation. 

The changes in body hair can be either addressed by adjusting the dosage of TRT or a prescription for finasteride, where the latter will assist in hair loss. However, the way these issues are addressed can probably prove even riskier.

The cardiovascular risks associated with Testopel treatment can manifest as heart attack, stroke, and blood clots. What would be appropriate in such cases is to discuss the pros and cons of a TRT therapy like Testopel with one’s physician.

Criteria For Inserting Testosterone Pellets

Before initiating Testopel, one needs to get one’s testosterone levels checked, and also to detect any side effects or adverse reactions. It is also important to get a diagnosis of hypogonadism before inserting the pellets. Of note, the testosterone levels should be measured in the morning for this purpose.

Read More:- The Science Of Testosterone: Exploring Its Impact On Men And Women


The testosterone pellets are specifically recommended for people with testosterone deficiency. Hypogonadism as this condition is otherwise called, can be effectively treated with pellets if this condition occurs just after puberty.

For men diagnosed with age-related hypogonadism or late-onset hypogonadism (suggesting advanced age), the use of Testospel can prove riskier.

This is because the safety and efficacy of the pellet insertion in older men, i.e. above 60 years have not been successfully established so far. However, for the other side effects noted above, such as changes in hair growth, should not be a matter of concern unless deemed otherwise.

About the Author

Nicole Carter is a dedicated and passionate nutritionist, committed to helping individuals achieve their health and wellness goals through the power of proper nutrition. With a Bachelor's degree in Nutritional Science and years of practical experience.

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