Testosterone Injections vs. Creams and Patches

At LT Men’s Clinic, one of the questions we get all the time is, “Which testosterone replacement therapy is the best?” The short answer is that it depends on the patient—there really isn’t one treatment that surpasses the others. Each method has its pros and cons, and patients will be drawn to one treatment over another based on their lifestyle and personal preferences. Today we’re comparing three of the four treatments we offer at LT Men’s Clinic: injections, patches, and creams.


Testosterone injections are a popular form of testosterone replacement therapy today. They’re effective, fast acting, and there’s no risk of transference to those around you. For injections, we schedule follow-up appointments every 7–10 days. When you come into the office, we’ll check in on your T levels, adjust the dosage if necessary, and give you your shot (the whole follow-up appointment takes less than 15 minutes). Some sources say you can administer these shots yourself, but to receive the most accurate dosing for your body, it’s best to have them done by a health care professional who can keep an eye on your levels and your progress.

We’ll give you the injection in either the gluteal or deltoid muscle, and we’re alternate sides each visit. Since it’s administered directly to your muscle tissue, the testosterone is easily absorbed into your blood stream, and you may feel the effects quickly. You may feel your symptoms improve following the injection, but those improvements may gradually wear off over the next several days as your testosterone levels drop prior to your next visit. These highs and lows are one of the drawbacks of this method of treatment, but other steadier treatments miss out on that initial jumpstart. The goal with testosterone injections is to get your testosterone levels to normal throughout the interval.

Patches and Creams

But of course, not everyone loves the idea of needles. Patches and creams offer a great alternative. Unlike injections, these two treatments deliver a slow, steady amount of testosterone to your system, and they don’t require follow-up office visits every 7–10 days since you can apply them yourself. With creams, you’ll want to apply them somewhere where there isn’t a lot of body hair, but there’s a lot of blood flow. Common sites include the inner thighs, behind the knees, and on the shoulders. Typical sites for patches include the thighs, stomach, upper arms, or back. Both of these methods need to be applied around the same time every day for them to be effective.

There are two main drawbacks with these methods. For one thing, as we’ve already mentioned, you have to apply them every day. That means there’s a risk of forgetting an application. If you do skip a dosage, it’s not detrimental, but these methods are most effective when consistently applied every day. The second main drawback is the risk of transference. If women or children come into contact with the testosterone treatment, they may experience some side effects, but transference is most dangerous to pregnant women. Creams usually take an hour to dry, so be particularly aware of your contact with others during that time.

Finally, the absorption rate for creams and patches greatly depends on the individual. Some men will find it more effective than others. Another factor to consider is that controlling your dosage will be more difficult with creams than with injections.

Testosterone replacement therapy isn’t one-size-fits-all, and at LT Men’s Clinic, we’ll help you figure out which method works best for you and your lifestyle. If you have any questions or would like more information, give us a call today!