Testosterone Therapy With Subcutaneous Injections: A Safe, Practical, and Reasonable Option

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2022 Feb 17;107(3):614-626. doi: 10.1210/clinem/dgab772.


Context: Injections with intramuscular (IM) testosterone esters have been available for almost 8 decades and not only result in predictable serum testosterone levels but are also the most inexpensive modality. However, they are difficult to self-administer and associated with some discomfort. Recently, subcutaneous (SC) administration of testosterone esters has gained popularity, as self-administration is easier with this route. Available data, though limited, support the feasibility of this route. Here we review the pharmacokinetics and safety of SC testosterone therapy with both long- and ultralong-acting testosterone esters. In addition, we provide guidance for clinicians on how to counsel and manage their patients who opt for the SC route.

Evidence acquisition: Systematic review of available literature on SC testosterone administration including clinical trials, case series, and case reports. We also review the pharmacology of testosterone absorption after SC administration.

Evidence synthesis: Available evidence, though limited, suggests that SC testosterone therapy in doses similar to those given via IM route results in comparable pharmacokinetics and mean serum testosterone levels. With appropriate training, patients should be able to safely self-administer testosterone esters SC with relative ease and less discomfort compared with the IM route.

Conclusion: Although studies directly comparing the safety of SC vs IM administration of testosterone esters are desirable, clinicians should consider discussing the SC route with their patients because it is easier to self-administer and has the potential to improve patient adherence.

Keywords: androgen deficiency; androgens; hypogonadism; testosterone replacement therapy; transgender.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypogonadism / blood
  • Hypogonadism / drug therapy*
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Male
  • Self Administration / methods
  • Sex Reassignment Procedures / adverse effects
  • Sex Reassignment Procedures / methods*
  • Testosterone / administration & dosage*
  • Testosterone / adverse effects
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Testosterone / pharmacokinetics
  • Transgender Persons


  • Testosterone