Today, a range of different male libido treatments and low testosterone treatments are available on the market. Most are prescription drugs, though some aren’t.
Some are intended specifically to treat low testosterone or boost libido and sexual performance and health, whereas, for other treatments, it’s an off-label use. We’ve covered many of these treatments in separate articles on our site. That includes how they work, what they offer, and other considerations.
But, we thought it would be useful to compare their side effects and risks. This can help readers make a more educated decision about which treatment option might be right for them. Understanding the specific applications, risks, and side effects of male enhancement products is just as vital for patients as it is for providers.
It’s important to stress that every individual is different and responds to medication differently. The risks and side effects noted in this guide are based on published information from the treatment manufacturer(s), the FDA, and other health experts. They are meant to inform and serve as a point of comparison among different male libido treatment options men may consider.
None of this information is a substitute for discussing the side effects of male enhancement pills, your health history, current medications, and similar facts with your doctor or prescriber prior to starting a libido-enhancing or testosterone-boosting treatment.
The most well-known treatment for male libido is testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). It has many risks, contraindications, and side effects associated with it.
This is true of many treatments that directly provide synthetic hormones into the body. In the case of testosterone replacement therapy, there is also a range of risks that are specific to the method of therapy.
For example, testosterone replacement therapy gels should not be touched by other people. Similarly, other people should not touch the area to which it is applied for several hours following administration.
We’re going to side-step those kinds of risks or issues, however, to keep comparisons fairly direct between the different kinds of therapies featured here.
Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is approved for use to treat low testosterone in men. However, it is not approved when the cause of that low testosterone is solely due to aging.
hCG is generally much safer than testosterone replacement therapy in absolute terms. However, much of the longer-term risk and side effect potential is not well established, as usage is not widespread. There are also a significant number of known side effects.
Aromatase inhibitors are not approved for use for the treatment of low testosterone — this is considered off-label use. Two of the most commonly-prescribed drugs in this class for low testosterone treatment are anastrozole and letrozole.
They are usually an oral medication, which is not typical of most hormone-related treatments. They are primarily used for the treatment of breast cancer, but a similar estrogen-related inhibitory pathway explains how they work to boost testosterone.
Like several other treatments on this list, long-term use for low testosterone and the associated side effects and risks have not been established.
Selective estrogen receptor modulators, or SERMs, are also considered off-label when used for treating low testosterone.
Generally, they are not prescribed for the treatment of age-related testosterone loss, but that is caused by other medical conditions or pathologies. The most common SERM that can be used off-label to treat low testosterone or libido is clomiphene, usually an oral pill.
As with aromatase inhibitors, long-term risks and side effects have not been well-established. However, it is known that higher doses than recommended, even in the short term, can lead to lower sperm counts or infertility.
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There are many testosterone-boosting supplement products and pills on the market, none of which are regulated as medicines by the FDA. These are the kinds of pills and supplements you see at nutrition stores or for purchase online.
They often contain a range of “natural” ingredients, which may produce some results or no results at all — ginger, boron, chrysin, horny goat weed, fenugreek, basella alba, hibiscus macranthus, and many others.
Depending on the exact makeup of these pills or supplements, they may have a range of side effects. Since they are not put through drug trials like regulated medications, these side effects often only come to light after consumer complaints. That often results in the supplement being pulled if side effects are sufficient enough.
Therefore, we cannot recommend this as a safe or suitable way to supplement low testosterone or boost your libido.
CJC-1295, often compounded with Ipamorelin, is an amino acid peptide, rather than a hormone itself. It triggers the production of human growth hormone in the patient’s pituitary gland.
Because it is not a synthetic hormone being introduced to the body, it is generally well-tolerated, with more mild side effects and fewer risks than any other treatment for low testosterone or decreased libido and sexual function included on our list.
As is clear, there is a range of options for treating low testosterone and other age-related sexual health changes in adult men.
Some are exclusively reserved for treating low testosterone or libido problems resulting from other medical conditions or diseases. Others can be used off-label to treat low libido and testosterone. Further options have unrestricted, multi-purpose uses.
In each case, there are pros and cons associated with the product you may choose for your own libido treatment or other health and anti-aging benefits. We hope this comparison of male enhancement pills and product side effects, risks, and contraindications has provided a foundation for you to talk to your doctor, healthcare provider, or prescriber so that you can determine which option is right for you.
We strive to always provide accurate, current, and safe advice in all of our articles and guides. However, it’s important to stress that they are no substitute for medical advice from a doctor or healthcare provider.
You should always consult a practicing professional who can diagnose your specific case. The content we’ve included in this guide is merely meant to be informational and does not constitute medical advice.