Pellet Therapy vs. Injections: A Look at the Major DifferencesPellet therapy and injections have been around for decades, so both methods have a proven track record. With these options, you don’t have to think about taking a pill or applying a cream every day. You don’t have to worry about a gel transferring to your partner or experiencing daily hormonal fluctuations from short-acting medication. But despite these similarities, there are some important differences.
Pellet TherapyImplantable pellet therapy begins in your doctor’s office with a minor insertion procedure under local anesthesia. Once the insertion area on the abdomen or buttock has been cleaned and numbed, the pellets are inserted through a small incision. A sterile tape is put in place. The procedure takes just minutes, and the recovery time is a few days during which the area must be kept clean and dry to facilitate healing. Here’s how pellets work:
InjectionsHormone injections may be given in your doctor’s office. If you prefer the convenience of self-injection, you can learn to administer your hormone injections at home. In this case, the staff at your doctor’s office will work with you until you feel comfortable with the self-injectable procedure. In both cases, the injection site will be cleaned before the hormone is injected and covered with a band-aid after. Here’s how hormone injections work:
What Does the Research Say About Pellet Therapy vs. Injections?To investigate the differences in delivery methods for hormone replacement therapy, researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine compared the long-term effects of men receiving various forms of testosterone therapy over a three-year period. Three groups of hypogonadal men were monitored every 3-6 months: the first group receiving topical testosterone therapy, the second receiving injections, and the third receiving implantable pellets. The results revealed:
- All methods of hormone delivery raised testosterone levels. The highest levels and greatest fluctuations were seen with injections.
- An increase in estrogen levels is a side effect of testosterone therapy. The highest estrogen levels were seen in the group receiving injections. When estrogen levels exceeded 5pg/ml, the men were treated with aromatase inhibitors which resolved the problem.
- None of the hormone therapy methods raised the risk of new or recurrence of previous prostate cancer.
- Erythrocytosis, an increase in red blood cells that may be dangerous, was observed with all delivery methods. It reached a level that necessitated action (change in dosage or therapeutic blood draw) more often with injections (66.7%) as opposed to pellets (35.1%) and topicals (12.8%).