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The Three Most Prescribed Types of Testosterone

Written by Author - Authors Medical experts of the National HRT Clinic - January 5, 2018

Types of Injectable Testosterone

Testosterone is defined medically by Merriam – Webster’s Dictionary as “a steroid sex hormone that is produced especially by the ovaries, testes, or adrenal cortex and that exerts estrogenic, progestational, or androgenic activity on the growth or function of the reproductive organs or on the development of secondary sex characteristics”. As if all of that isn’t a confusing enough, finding out which hormone best suites your needs can be even more daunting. This page will help clear up some of the fog surrounding testosterone, its types, or esters, usage information, and differences from one to another.

Long-acting Testosterone Esters (types)

When beginning research on testosterone therapy, one is sure to find a lot of misleading information online about who needs it, how it works, benefits, and of course the different forms of testosterone. This can quickly change the focus of the research from benefits to just understanding what type of testosterone is needed. Unfortunately, the information one can find online may not be from the best sources and may leave more questions than answers. In the spirit of ensuring there is accurate, clinical information out there, we have put the following table together for better understanding of testosterone and the differences in prescribed types based on bioavailability, or ester.

Below is some helpful information about the different types, or esters, of Testosterone: Cypionate, Enanthate, and Propionate. This will help you understand better how it works and how it is prescribed.

Comparison Chart of Testosterone Esters

***All information provided below is to be used as a general understanding of the differences between Testosterone esters and is NOT meant to treat, direct treatment, or guarantee results. National HRT requires a consultation, physician’s prescription, and monitoring by a physician for all hormone therapies.

  Cypionate Enanthate Propionate
Brands / Generic Depo (Pfizer), Watson,
Compounded Yes Yes Yes
Effective time
Stays in body (half-life) *
8 days 5 days 2 days
(Bioavailability / Ester) * ~ 65 % ~ 75 % ~ 55 %
Usage * Once weekly injection – one 10ml vial per 3 months Once every 5 days injection – two 10ml vials per 3 months Once every 2-3 days injection – Based on individual prescription
Ease of Use * +++ ++ +
Side Effects * — — — — — — — —
Availability Commercial & Compounding pharmacies Compounding pharmacies Compounding pharmacies
Popularity * ++++ +++ ++
Conversion rate to Estrogen * — — — — — —
Base Oil * Brand- Cottonseed oil
Compounded- Sesame seed oil
Brand – Cotton seed oil
Compounded – Sesame or Grapeseed oil
Compounded- Sesame seed oil
Cost per ml $ $$ $$$$
Therapy Cost * $$ $$$ $$$$$

* Half-Life – This is the amount of time that half the dose taken stays active in your body.

* Bioavailability / Ester – Esters are attached to the testosterone hormone. The longer the ester chain (Cypionate), the longer it will take for the full dosage to reach complete absorption. The beauty of esters releasing slowly is that you don’t have to inject your testosterone every day. Injection schedules can be as long as once per week or as frequently as three times per week (Propionate) depending on the ester of testosterone being injected.

* Usage – All dosage is individual and based on prescription.

* Ease of Use – How many injections taken weekly, discomfort after injection, usually mixed with other esters for higher potency. For example Cypionate mixed with Propionate

* Side Effects – Water retention, higher conversion rate to estrogen*, skin irritation from base oil (compounded).

* Popularity – Based on how often our doctors prescribe this medication compare to others.

* Conversion rate to Estrogen – The process of the aromatase enzyme binding to free Testosterone and increasing estrogen.

* Base Oil – Cottonseed Oil used in brand preparations (very thin and hypoallergenic), Grapeseed oil (thin oil used in compounded preparations, hypoallergenic), Sesame Seed Oil (thicker oil, less hypoallergenic and used in compounded preparations). Listed in order of allergen.

* Therapy Cost – A range of cost associated with dosage and frequency of administration, as well as supplemental medications needed.

We sincerely hope that the information above has helped to clear up any confusion about testosterone and its general uses. What therapy may be best suited for each person is up to a physician and should be done on an individual basis. If you wish to speak with someone who has even more information about starting a therapy, please contact us.