One of the most common questions that we come across is “Can I buy testosterone without a prescription?”
While there are testosterone products that can be bought over the counter, you must have a prescription to purchase genuine testosterone. This is because testosterone is a highly controlled substance.
Testosterone that is sold over the counter without a prescription is mostly sub-standard supplements that claim to give instant results. Taking these supplements can alter your brain’s ability to send messages to the testicles to produce the natural testosterone hormone.
Why is Testosterone a Controlled Substance?
Testosterone is considered an Anabolic steroid, according to the U.S. Controlled Substances Act which was passed in 1990. Anabolic steroids, testosterone hormone included, are controlled in order to regulate their use, distribution, and prescription. It is also believed that testosterone had to be controlled to curb cheating in sports.
Prior to the controlled act, they were abused by athletes largely because of their psychoactive effects. Gym enthusiasts were also interested in increasing their performance and found themselves abusing this beneficial hormone.
What Are the Risks Associated With Abuse and Dependence of Testosterone?
Even with the stern warning label on the testosterone drug products, there are thousands of people who still abuse it even with full knowledge of the side effects.
Most of the abuse, however, comes from patients who illegally obtain this hormone. Although there can be cases of men who have a prescription and choose to misuse it.
According to a population-based study by the Journal of Internal Medicine, abusers of testosterone, as well as other anabolic steroids, are more likely to die prematurely than those in the control group.
Some of the risks associated with testosterone abuse and over-dependence are:
- Testicular shrinkage: Prolonged high-dosage of testosterone can lead to testicular shrinkage or atrophy.
- Hormonal imbalance: When high levels of testosterone are present in the body, it causes hormonal imbalance. Hormonal imbalance in itself causes conditions such as enlargement of male breasts, excessive hair growth, sexual dysfunction, and infertility, among other effects.
- Mental illness: Testosterone, being a hormone, affects the functionality of the CNS (Central Nervous System). Excessive use of testosterone can lead to episodes of mental illness, irritability, mood swings, aggressive behavior, impaired impulse control, and impaired cognitive function. This happens in patients who were initially very normal and healthy.
- Cardiovascular diseases: High-dosage levels of testosterone when not needed can put one at a high risk of cardiovascular diseases. they could also increase the risk of liver damage, liver diseases, and diabetes.
- Stunted growth: Teens who abuse testosterone may face stunted growth. The body assumes it has completed puberty because of the high levels of testosterone, causing the brain to send a message to the body to stop any further growth.
How is Testosterone Deficiency Diagnosed?
Testosterone is only administered in patients with low levels of testosterone. To be considered testosterone deficient, you must have levels of 300IU according to the American Urology Association. You must also experience one or more of the following signs:
- Sexual dysfunction
- Low sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Low muscle mass
- Hair loss
- Increased body fat, especially around the abdomen
- Low semen volume
- Testicles reducing in size
- Hot flashes and mood swings
It is very normal for some men to have low levels of testosterone and not experience any symptoms. In such a case, the doctor will recommend alternative ways of increasing your testosterone other than testosterone therapy treatment.
Why is Testosterone Important?
In men, testosterone is crucial in:
- The production of sperm
- The development of the male body physique- structure and muscles
- Building the bone density
- Sexual function
What Slows Down the Production of Testosterone?
The number one reason for a decline in testosterone is age. As men get older, their testosterone volume also declines. Of course, this is not the case for all men but for most after the age of 40.
Other reasons why the production of testosterone slows down include:
- Injury, trauma, or infections of the testicles
- Metabolic disorders, such as having too much iron in the body (hemochromatosis)
- Pituitary dysfunction or having tumors in the pituitary gland
- Certain medications such as the opioids, prednisone, and hormones used to treat prostate cancer
- Certain short-term or chronic illnesses such as renal failure, HIV/AIDS, Sarcoidosis, liver cirrhosis, uncontrolled type 2 diabetes, and sleep apnea
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- High levels of prolactin (milk hormone)
- Abnormal development of the hypothalamus, a gland in the brain that controls many hormones
- Extreme weight gain or weight loss
- Excessive estrogen levels
- Severe hypothyroidism
What are the best Treatments Available for Testosterone Deficiency?
The best treatment for testosterone deficiency is Testosterone Therapy Treatment (TRT). To be put on this therapy, a proper diagnosis must have been done either through a blood or urine test.
However, the cause of the decline in the hormone will be a determinant in whether or not a doctor will put you on the therapy. If the cause can be addressed without any medication, then that is most likely the route the doctor will likely take first. For instance, if the cause is obesity, then the doctor will ask you to first lose weight. And if the cause is certain medications then you will be asked to withdraw the medication.
If your doctor thinks the best treatment for you is TRT, then he or she will put you on the treatment. TRT can be administered either as an injection, gel, pellets, pills, or skin patches. TRT is typically effective and improvement is noticeable within a few weeks of starting the treatment.
What Is the Cost of Testosterone Treatment?
The U.S. average cost of depo-testosterone is about $30 – $40 for 1 mL (200mg/mL). An equal amount of Cypionate testosterone costs between $20 – $25. These costs may be higher or lower depending on where you purchase your prescription. Some clinics may also have additional costs for medical consultations or other additional fees.
Do Health Insurance Companies Cover Testosterone Treatment?
Some health insurance companies will cover the cost of testosterone therapy inclusive of all visits. lab tests and medications. However, most will only cover the associated costs—such as lab tests and clinic visits—minus the testosterone therapy and medications.
Take Advantage of Safe Testosterone Use
When correctly used as per the prescription, testosterone is safer than most drugs in the market more so than even ibuprofen or aspirin. In fact, drinking alcohol can be more harmful to your body than taking testosterone responsibly. It is abuse and over-dependence that causes testosterone to be detrimental and to be viewed negatively.