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Volume 12, Issue 2 (March 2010) 12, 227–233; 10.1038/aja.2010.1

Factors influencing time course of pain after depot oil intramuscular injection of testosterone undecanoate

Gideon Sartorius, Carolyn Fennell, Sasa Spasevska, Leo Turner, Ann J. Conway and David J. Handelsman

Andrology Department, Concord Hospital & ANZAC Research Institute, Sydney, NSW 2139, Australia

Correspondence: Prof. David J. Handelsman, djh@anzac.edu.au

Received 11 November 2009; Revised 6 December 2009; Accepted 7 January 2009; Published online 1 February 2010.


Pain following depot intramuscular (IM) injection of oil vehicle-based drugs has been little studied. This study aimed to determine prospectively the prevalence, determinants, severity and functional consequences of pain during the week after IM injection of 1 000 mg testosterone undecanoate (TU) in a 4-mL castor oil vehicle. Androgen-deficient men receiving regular T replacement therapy at an academic andrology clinic were recruited to report pain scores using a coloured visual linear analogue scale at seven times over the first day and daily for a week after a deep IM gluteal injection. The time course and covariables influencing pain scores were analysed by mixed model analysis of variance (ANOVA). Following 168 injections in 125 men, pain was reported by 80% of men, peaking immediately after injection, reaching only moderate severity, lasting 1–2 days and returning to baseline by day 4. The pain required little analgesic use and produced minimal interference in daily activities. The time course of pain scores was reproducible in the 43 men who underwent two consecutive injections. Pain was more severe in men who had an earlier painful injection, but less severe in older and more obese men. There were negligible differences in post-injection pain experience between experienced nurses administering injections. Deep IM gluteal injection of depot TU in 4-mL castor oil is well tolerated and post-injection pain is influenced by earlier painful injection experience, as well as age and obesity.

Keywords: ageing; intramuscular injection; obesity; pain; testosterone

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Asian Journal of Andrology CN 31-1795/R ISSN 1008-682X  Copyright © 2023  Shanghai Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences.  All rights reserved.