Navigating Hormone Shortages

Manufacturer supply shortages can sometimes result in difficulty obtaining your usual medications. Try these steps if you are concerned about a shortage and running low on your prescription.

Although shortages can happen with any medication, there are more frequent hormone shortages of injectable testosterone.

If you're concerned about a shortage:

1. Check with your usual pharmacy to see if they have your prescription in stock or if they can locate it for you at another site.

2. Call different local pharmacies to ask about availability of your prescription. It may be especially helpful to try smaller pharmacies (as opposed to large chain pharmacies).

3. Consider a temporary switch to another form of your medication (if possible). If you are unable to find your usual medication, your pharmacist may be able to contact your prescriber to approve a temporary change. 

Note: Different types of injectable testosterone have different concentrations, so you will need to change the amount that you inject to get the same dose (testosterone enanthate is more concentrated than testosterone cypionate). For example, if your usual medication is testosterone cypionate and your dose is 60 mg weekly, you would inject 0.6 ml of medication. If you switch to testosterone enanthate, you only need 0.3 ml to get the same dose. Speak to your doctor, nurse practitioner or pharmacist if you are unsure how much to inject.

4. Contact your healthcare provider to discuss the situation. They may be able to prescribe a different form of your medication until your usual medication is available. 

If there is a shortage of both types of injectable testosterone you may need to use a gel or patch until your medication is available.

Medication costs and Fair PharmaCare

Different medication forms may be more expensive than your usual medication. For example, topical forms of testosterone are significantly more expensive than injectable testosterone.

Your doctor or nurse practitioner can apply for Special Authority coverage for topical testosterone and state that injectable forms of testosterone are currently unavailable.

You must apply to Fair PharmaCare (if you have not already) to receive Special Authority coverage. Get information on how to apply for Fair PharmaCare

Questions?

If your health care provider is unsure about how to help or has questions about the process, they can call the RACE Line and speak to an expert in transgender health: 604-696-2131 or 1-877-696-2131.

For a list of virtual peer supports and counseling resources, contact Trans Care BC's Health Navigation Team: transcareteam@phsa.ca or 1-866-999-1514.

SOURCE: Navigating Hormone Shortages ( )
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