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What Is Testosterone Cypionate? (Everything You Must Know)

Michael Garrico
Published by Michael Garrico
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED

While we’re against steroid use here at TotalShape, we understand that some people require more drastic measures to up their testosterone.

In my experience as a fitness trainer for over a decade, testosterone cypionate has been one of the most common steroid hormones I’ve come across. Like many steroids, it has positives and negatives — both of which are worth knowing.

So, I took a month to research several clinical trials and case studies with a dietician to better grasp the effects of testosterone cypionate and whether using it is worth the risk.

Let’s get started.

Quick Summary

  • Men inject testosterone cypionate as a hormone replacement therapy to treat the adverse side effects of low testosterone levels.
  • Testosterone cypionate is typically delivered in an oil base as a deep intramuscular injection.
  • A testosterone cypionate injection is composed of testosterone — a Schedule III controlled substance in the Controlled Substance Act — meaning its use strictly requires a doctor’s prescription.

What Is Testosterone Cypionate?

Man holding a sample of Testosterone Cypionate

Testosterone cypionate is an androgenic-anabolic steroid medication used for treating low testosterone levels in men, introduced as a medical intervention in 1951 [1].

It’s often marketed under brand names like Duratest, Testoject LA, and Depo-Testosterone.

As a prescription drug, testosterone cypionate is a highly beneficial form of hormone therapy and can be tolerated by most patients.

It’s administered either by injection or subcutaneously once every 1–4 weeks, depending on what ailment you’re treating [2].

It’s one of the most commonly used testosterone esters (fatty acids attached to steroids to enhance their therapeutic value), apart from testosterone undecanoate, testosterone enanthate, and testosterone propionate.

Testosterone cypionate is most commonly used in the United States for medical and physical enhancement purposes. It’s also used in hormonal therapy for transgender men [3].

Like most steroids, testosterone cypionate is a controlled substance in many countries, making its non-medical use illegal.

“It’s an injectable medication, a shot in your butt every 2 weeks. It gives you a hefty increase in testosterone levels very quickly.”

- Dr. Martin Gross, MD, Urologist

What Is Testosterone Cypionate Used For?

Testosterone cypionate is used to treat symptoms of hypogonadism in men and delayed puberty in teenagers.

The former condition is characterized by the inability to produce enough testosterone, thereby leading to decreased levels of testosterone in men.

Low testosterone levels in males lead to various unpleasant symptoms like poor concentration, erectile dysfunction, low sex drive, and mood swings [4].

In many cases, the causes of low testosterone levels also result in gynecomastia (male breasts), hair loss, reduced muscle size, reduced growth of the penis and testicles (in teenagers), anemia, and osteoporosis [5] [6].

The good news is that testosterone cypionate treats both types of hypogonadism:

  • Primary hypogonadism: This occurs when the testicles are unable to produce enough testosterone.
  • Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism: This occurs when there’s damage to part of the brain that tells the testicles to produce testosterone — the hypothalamus and pituitary gland.

How Does Testosterone Cypionate Work?

Muscular man holding a syringe with both hands and pressing it

Testosterone cypionate works as an exogenous testosterone source to make up for the male sex hormone your body is unable to produce.

When your body fails to produce enough androgens to the point where you suffer symptoms of low testosterone, a testosterone cypionate injection (usually 200 mg/ml) bridges that gap.

First, let’s understand how natural testosterone production works. Your body naturally produces testosterone with the help of luteinizing hormone (LH) in the testes (endogenous testosterone) [7].

However, due to certain conditions (like phytoestrogens, aging, or obesity), your body might not be able to produce enough endogenous testosterone, so it will need exogenous (from an outside source) testosterone.

This is where therapeutic steroids like testosterone cypionate come in.

Here’s exactly how it works:

  • Based on your condition, your doctor will prescribe the quantity and duration of your testosterone cypionate dosage.
  • Once it’s injected, the enzymes in your body separate the testosterone from the cypionate ester [8].
  • The testosterone is then metabolized and begins to take effect.

Benefits

Below are some of the potential benefits of testosterone cypionate injections; they’re basically the same as the benefits of having normal to high testosterone:

  • Higher sex drive: Low sex drive (low libido) is usually a result of low T-levels — something testosterone cypionate therapy can fix [9].
  • Better concentration: The inability to concentrate (brain fog) is usually associated with low testosterone levels [10].
  • Higher sperm count: High T-levels are associated with improved erections and higher sperm count [11].
  • Regulates mood: The higher your testosterone, the better your overall mood [10].
  • Fights anemia: Testosterone deficiency is associated with anemia (low red blood cell count) in older men [12].
  • Increases muscle mass: High testosterone levels are correlated with better muscle protein synthesis, which means more muscle growth [13].

Related: Can Testosterone Cypionate Increase Muscle Gain

Disclaimer: Most of these benefits are a result of taking testosterone cypionate under proper medical supervision.

Advantages Over Other TRT Hormones

A male with good physique

Testosterone cypionate has a half-life of around eight days, which is higher than most other injections out there [14].

What this means is that your body metabolizes half the testosterone cypionate in eight days.

With a comparatively longer half-life than other injections, you’ll only need to take testosterone cypionate once every week or two weeks, making it a more manageable form of TRT.

Side Effects and Precautions

Men with acne, shortness of breath, and about to vomit

Testosterone is often misused by people, mostly athletes who want to see fast results.

Taking testosterone cypionate beyond what your doctor prescribes, or using it along with other anabolic steroids, can lead to serious long-term health problems.

Common Side Effects

There are some of the most common adverse effects of testosterone cypionate [2].

These can either be a result of use or misuse: 

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Skin color changes
  • Lower libido
  • Pain at the injection site
  • Oily skin
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Acne
  • Hair loss

More severe side effects include:

  • Trouble urinating or frequent urination
  • Breast swelling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Vision changes
  • Weakness on one side of the body
  • Trouble speaking
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Pain in the groin or calf
  • Frequent/prolonged erections

If you experience any of these side effects, contact your doctor immediately.

Precautions

If you take testosterone cypionate as a testosterone replacement therapy, you’ll need to monitor your progress and side effects.

Based on what I’ve noticed over the years, here are some precautions you need to take when taking testosterone cypionate injections:

  • You should take frequent laboratory or medical tests — such as blood tests, blood testosterone levels, red blood cell counts, liver function tests, blood cholesterol levels, and PSA tests — to monitor your progress or check for side effects.
  • Testosterone cypionate can affect bone growth in children, so make sure you consider the side effects before putting your child through TRT for any reason.

“During the first year of treatment for low testosterone, men are usually seen every three months to check their blood and testosterone levels. If you’re healthy after one year, follow-up visits may be spaced out to every six months.”

- Dr. Ahmer Farooq, DO

Some Considerations

A syringe and a sample of vial

If you need a testosterone cypionate cycle, you might want to consider a few important things. Your doctor will explain these to you, but it doesn’t hurt to know them in advance.

Trust Your Healthcare Professional

Healthcare professionals know exactly how much testosterone cypionate to prescribe based on your condition. So, you want to follow their advice on the amount and frequency of dosage to the letter.

Drug Interactions

The effects of testosterone cypionate may alter depending on whether you’re taking any other medication. It may also interfere with the result of certain laboratory tests — like thyroid tests — and possibly produce false results.

Disclose all your current medication to your local physician before considering testosterone cypionate.

Overdosing

Overdosing is highly unlikely if you’re taking testosterone cypionate under professional medical care. However, inexperienced athletes who illegally use it could overdose if they don’t take precautions. 

If you or anyone you know overdoses on testosterone cypionate, call your local hospital or local poison control center.

FAQs

How Much Testosterone Cypionate Should You Take?

According to most physicians, you should take 1 cc (200 mg/ml) of testosterone cypionate every two weeks. However, some experienced clinicians treat patients with 200mg/ml of testosterone cypionate weekly or twice a week.

How Long Does It Take for the Effects of Testosterone Cypionate to Kick In?

It takes approximately two days for the effects of testosterone cypionate (a 200 mg/ml dose) to kick in. After about 12 days, the effects begin to level off and remain in the system for 21 days [14].

How Long Does It Take for Testosterone Cypionate to Leave Your System?

On average, it takes 44 days for testosterone cypionate to leave your system completely. This is based on a 200 mg/ml dose [14].

Can You Overdose on Testosterone Cypionate?

Yes, you can easily overdose on testosterone cypionate. This usually happens when users become addicted to steroids or accidentally take more than the prescribed amount. When this happens, the negative side effects of testosterone are heightened, along with other symptoms.

Who Should Not Take Testosterone Cypionate?

People allergic to testosterone, females (especially those breastfeeding or pregnant), and those with prostate or breast cancer should not take testosterone cypionate.

Are Testosterone Cypionate Injections Used for Performance Enhancement?

Yes, testosterone cypionate injections are used for performance enhancement by many athletes. Some of them take high doses of the hormone to gain an unfair advantage over other athletes, whereas others take it to get over plateaus in their athletic performance.

Should You Use Testosterone Cypionate?

You may take testosterone cypionate as a last resort when all else fails, provided you have a doctor’s prescription. Otherwise, it’s safer and better to raise your T-levels using natural means.

That’s why we highly recommend taking only the top natural testosterone boosters for men. After carefully testing the best products on the market, we singled out these testosterone boosters as the most effective.

These products contain highly effective and reliable ingredients that improve strength, performance, energy, and confidence.

They won’t turn you into Ronnie Coleman overnight, but they’ll help you reach your fitness goals naturally, safely, and more quickly.


References:

  1. https://www.drugs.com/pro/testosterone-cypionate.html
  2. https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-5185/testosterone-cypionate-intramuscular/details
  3. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04321551
  4. https://www.webmd.com/men/how-low-testosterone-can-affect-your-sex-drive
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34283215/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1472878/
  7. https://medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/luteinizing-hormone-lh-levels-test/
  8. https://go.drugbank.com/drugs/DB13943
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22552705/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4330791/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5649360/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5433757/
  13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2917954/
  14. https://www.pfizermedicalinformation.com/en-us/depo-testosterone/clinical-pharmacology
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