Recommendations for the Use of Testosterone in Male Transgender*

Abstract Gender incongruence is defined as a condition in which an individual self-identifies and desires to have physical characteristics and social roles that connote the opposite biological sex. Gender dysphoria is when an individual displays the anxiety and/or depression disorders that result from the incongruity between the gender identity and the biological sex. The gender affirmation process must be performed by a multidisciplinary team. The main goal of the hormone treatment is to start the development of male physical characteristics by means of testosterone administration that may be offered to transgender men who are 18 years old or over. The use of testosterone is usually well tolerated and improves the quality of life. However, there is still lack of evidence regarding the effects and risks of the long-term use of this hormone. Many different pharmacological formulations have been used in the transsexualization process. The most commonly used formulation is the intramuscular testosterone esters in a short-term release injection, followed by testosterone cypionate or testosterone enanthate. In the majority of testosterone therapy protocols, the male physical characteristics can be seen in almost all users after 6 months of therapy, and themaximum virilization effects are usually achieved after 3 to 5 years of regular use of the hormone. To minimize risks, plasmatic testosterone levels should be kept within male physiological ranges (300 to 1,000 ng/dl) during hormonal treatment. It is recommended that transgender men under androgen therapy be monitored every 3 months during the 1st year of treatment and then, every 6 to 12 months.