What is Aveed (testosterone undecanoate)?

Aveed (testosterone undecanoate) is a long-acting, man-made version of testosterone, the natural male sexual hormone used for testosterone replacement therapy

Testosterone is responsible for the normal growth and development of male sex organs and characteristics. It includes growth and development of male organs of penis, testicles, prostate, body hair, vocal cord thickening, and muscle and fat distribution. 

Common side effects of Aveed include:

Serious side effects of Aveed include:

  • a serious lung problem called pulmonary oil micro embolism (POME) as well as
  • a serious allergic reaction after receiving the injection.

Drug interactions of Aveed include warfarin because testosterone can reduce breakdown of warfarin, leading to increased warfarin blood levels and bleeding risk.

Testosterone can decrease blood glucose, so insulin requirements may change in diabetic patients. 

Aveed is not recommended for pregnant women or in women who may become pregnant; it causes fetal harm. 

Although it is unknown if Aveed enters breast milk, it is not recommended for breastfeeding mothers due to high risks of infant harm and serious adverse events.

What are the important side effects of Aveed (testosterone undecanoate)?

Side effects of testosterone undecanoate are:

  • acne,
  • injection site pain,
  • increased prostate specific antigen (PSA),
  • hypogonadism,
  • increased estradiol,
  • fatigue,
  • insomnia, and
  • aggression.

Special Warning: Aveed may cause a serious lung problem called pulmonary oil microembolism (POME) as well as a serious allergic reaction after receiving the injection.

Aveed (testosterone undecanoate) side effects list for healthcare professionals

Clinical Trial Experience

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in clinical practice.

Aveed was evaluated in an 84-week clinical study using a dose regimen of 750 mg (3 mL) at initiation, at 4 weeks, and every 10 weeks thereafter in 153 hypogonadal men. The most commonly reported adverse reactions (>2%) were: acne (5.2%), injection site pain (4.6%), prostate specific antigen increased (4.6%), hypogonadism (2.6%) and estradiol increased (2.6%).

Table 1 presents adverse reactions reported by ≥1% of patients in the 84-week clinical study.

Table 1: Adverse Reactions Reported in at Least 1% of Patients in the 84-Week Clinical Study of Aveed

MedDRA Preferred Term Number of patients (%)
Aveed 750 mg (N=153)
Acne 8 (5.2%)
Injection site pain 7 (4.6%)
Prostatic specific antigen increased* 7 (4.6%)
Estradiol increased 4 (2.6%)
Hypogonadism 4 (2.6%)
Fatigue 3 (2%)
Irritability 3 (2%)
Hemoglobin increased 3 (2%)
Insomnia 3 (2%)
Mood swings 3 (2%)
Aggression 2 (1.3%)
Ejaculation disorder 2 (1.3%)
Injection site erythema 2 (1.3%)
Hematocrit increased 2 (1.3%)
Hyperhidrosis 2 (1.3%)
Prostate Cancer 2 (1.3%)
Prostate induration 2 (1.3%)
Weight increased 2 (1.3%)
*Prostate-specific antigen increased defined as a serum PSA concentration >4 ng/mL.

In the 84-week clinical trial, 7 patients (4.6%) discontinued treatment because of adverse reactions. Adverse reactions leading to discontinuation included: hematocrit increased, estradiol increased, prostatic specific antigen increased, prostate cancer, mood swings, prostatic dysplasia, acne, and deep vein thrombosis.

During the 84-week clinical trial, the average serum PSA increased from 1.0 ± 0.8 ng/mL at baseline to 1.5 ± 1.3 ng/mL at the end of study. Fourteen (14) patients (10.9%) in whom the baseline PSA was < 4 ng/mL had a post-baseline serum PSA of > 4 ng/mL during the 84-week treatment period.

A total of 725 hypogonadal men received intramuscular testosterone undecanoate in a total of 7 controlled clinical trials. In these clinical trials, the dose and dose frequency of intramuscular testosterone undecanoate varied from 750 mg to 1000 mg, and from every 9 weeks to every 14 weeks. Several of these clinical trials incorporated additional doses upon initiation of therapy (eg, loading doses). In addition to those adverse reactions noted in Table 1, the following adverse events were reported by at least 3% of patients in these trials, irrespective of the investigator's assessment of relationship to study medication: sinusitis, prostatitis, arthralgia, nasopharyngitis, upper respiratory tract infection, bronchitis, back pain, hypertension, diarrhea and headache.

Pulmonary Oil Microembolism (POME) And Anaphylaxis In Controlled Clinical Studies

Adverse events attributable to pulmonary oil microembolism and anaphylaxis were reported in a small number of patients in controlled clinical trials. In the 84-week clinical trial of Aveed, 1 patient experienced a mild coughing fit lasting 10 minutes after his third injection, which was retrospectively attributed to POME. In another clinical trial of intramuscular testosterone undecanoate (1000 mg), a hypogonadal male patient experienced the urge to cough and respiratory distress at 1 minute after his tenth injection, which was also retrospectively attributed to POME.

During a review that involved adjudication of all cases meeting specific criteria, 9 POME events in 8 patients and 2 events of anaphylaxis among 3,556 patients treated with intramuscular testosterone undecanoate in 18 clinical trials were judged to have occurred.

Postmarketing Experience

The following adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval use of Aveed. Because the reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

Pulmonary Oil Microembolism (POME) And Anaphylaxis

Serious pulmonary oil microembolism (POME) reactions, involving cough, urge to cough, dyspnea, hyperhidrosis, throat tightening, chest pain, dizziness, and syncope, have been reported to occur during or immediately after the injection of intramuscular testosterone undecanoate 1000 mg (4 mL) in post-approval use outside the United States. The majority of these events lasted a few minutes and resolved with supportive measures; however, some lasted up to several hours and some required emergency care and/or hospitalization.

In addition to serious POME reactions, episodes of anaphylaxis, including life-threatening reactions, have also been reported to occur following the injection of intramuscular testosterone undecanoate in post-approval use outside of the United States.

Both serious POME reactions and anaphylaxis have been reported to occur after any injection of testosterone undecanoate during the course of therapy, including after the first dose.

Other Events

The following treatment emergent adverse events or adverse reactions have been identified during post-marketing clinical trials and during post-approval use of intramuscular testosterone undecanoate. In most cases, the dose being used was 1000 mg.

Blood and Lymphatic System Disorders: polycythemia, thrombocytopenia

Cardiac Disorders: angina pectoris, cardiac arrest, cardiac failure, coronary artery disease, coronary artery occlusion, myocardial infarction, tachycardia

Ear and Labyrinth Disorders: sudden hearing loss, tinnitus

Endocrine Disorders: hyperparathyroidism, hypoglycemia

Gastrointestinal Disorders: abdominal pain upper, diarrhea, vomiting

General Disorders and Administrative Site Conditions: chest pain, edema peripheral, injection site discomfort, injection site hematoma, injection site irritation, injection site pain, injection site reaction, malaise, paresthesia, procedural pain

Immune System Disorders: anaphylactic reaction, anaphylactic shock, asthma, dermatitis allergic, hypersensitivity, leukocytoclastic vasculitis

Infections and Infestations: injection site abscess, prostate infection

Investigations: alanine aminotransferase increased, aspartate aminotransferase increased, blood bilirubin increased, blood glucose increased, blood pressure increased, blood prolactin increased, blood testosterone decreased, blood testosterone increased, blood triglycerides increased, gamma-glutamyltransferase increased, hematocrit increased, intraocular pressure increased, liver function test abnormal, prostate examination abnormal, prostatic specific antigen increased, transaminases increased

Metabolism and Nutrition Disorders: diabetes mellitus, fluid retention, hyperlipidemia, hypertriglyceridemia

Musculoskeletal and Connective Tissue Disorders: musculoskeletal chest pain, musculoskeletal pain, myalgia, osteopenia, osteoporosis, systemic lupus erythematosus

Neoplasms Benign, Malignant and Unspecified (including cysts and polyps): prostate cancer, prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia

Nervous System Disorders: stroke, cerebrovascular insufficiency, reversible ischemic neurological deficiency, transient ischemic attack

Psychiatric Disorders: aggression, anxiety, depression, insomnia, irritability, Korsakoff's psychosis non-alcoholic, male orgasmic disorder, nervousness, restlessness, sleep disorder

Renal and Urinary Disorders: calculus urinary, dysuria, hematuria, nephrolithiasis, pollakiuria, renal colic, renal pain, urinary tract disorder

Reproductive System and Breast Disorders: azoospermia, benign prostatic hyperplasia, breast induration, breast pain, erectile dysfunction, gynecomastia, libido decreased, libido increased, prostate induration, prostatitis, spermatocele, testicular pain

Respiratory, Thoracic and Mediastinal Disorders: asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cough, dysphonia, dyspnea,

hyperventilation, obstructive airway disorder, pharyngeal edema, pharyngolaryngeal pain, pulmonary microemboli, pulmonary

embolism, respiratory distress, rhinitis, sleep apnea syndrome, snoring

Skin and Subcutaneous Tissue Disorders: acne, alopecia, angioedema, angioneurotic edema, dermatitis allergic, erythema, hyperhidrosis, pruritus, rash

Vascular Disorders: cerebral infarction, cerebrovascular accident, circulatory collapse, deep venous thrombosis, hot flush, hypertension, syncope, thromboembolism, thrombosis, venous insufficiency

What drugs interact with Aveed (testosterone undecanoate)?

Insulin

Changes in insulin sensitivity or glycemic control may occur in patients treated with androgens. In diabetic patients, the metabolic effects of androgens may decrease blood glucose and, therefore, may necessitate a decrease in the dose of anti-diabetic medication.

Oral Anticoagulants

Changes in anticoagulant activity may be seen with androgens, therefore more frequent monitoring of international normalized ratio (INR) and prothrombin time are recommended in patients taking warfarin, especially at the initiation and termination of androgen therapy.

Corticosteroids

The concurrent use of testosterone with corticosteroids may result in increased fluid retention and requires careful monitoring, particularly in patients with cardiac, renal or hepatic disease.

Drug Abuse And Dependence

Controlled Substance

Aveed contains testosterone, a Schedule III controlled substance in the Controlled Substances Act.

Abuse

Drug abuse is intentional non-therapeutic use of a drug, even once, for its rewarding psychological and physiological effects. Abuse and misuse of testosterone are seen in male and female adults and adolescents. Testosterone, often in combination with other anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS), and not obtained by prescription through a pharmacy, may be abused by athletes and bodybuilders. There have been reports of misuse of men taking higher doses of legally obtained testosterone than prescribed and continuing testosterone despite adverse events or against medical advice.

Abuse-Related Adverse Reactions

Serious adverse reactions have been reported in individuals who abuse anabolic androgenic steroids, and include cardiac arrest, myocardial infarction, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, cerebrovascular accident, hepatotoxicity, and serious psychiatric manifestations, including major depression, mania, paranoia, psychosis, delusions, hallucinations, hostility and aggression.

The following adverse reactions have also been reported in men: transient ischemic attacks, convulsions, hypomania, irritability, dyslipidemias, testicular atrophy, subfertility, and infertility.

The following additional adverse reactions have been reported in women: hirsutism, virilization, deepening of voice, clitoral enlargement, breast atrophy, male-pattern baldness, and menstrual irregularities.

The following adverse reactions have been reported in male and female adolescents: premature closure of bony epiphyses with termination of growth, and precocious puberty.

Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size and may include abuse of other agents, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

Dependence

Behaviors Associated With Addiction

Continued abuse of testosterone and other anabolic steroids, leading to addiction is characterized by the following behaviors:

  • Taking greater dosages than prescribed
  • Continued drug use despite medical and social problems due to drug use
  • Spending significant time to obtain the drug when supplies of the drug are interrupted
  • Giving a higher priority to drug use than other obligations
  • Having difficulty in discontinuing the drug despite desires and attempts to do so
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms upon abrupt discontinuation of use

Physical dependence is characterized by withdrawal symptoms after abrupt drug discontinuation or a significant dose reduction of a drug. Individuals taking supratherapeutic doses of testosterone may experience withdrawal symptoms lasting for weeks or months which include depressed mood, major depression, fatigue, craving, restlessness, irritability, anorexia, insomnia, decreased libido and hypogonadotropic hypogonadism.

Drug dependence in individuals using approved doses of testosterone for approved indications has not been documented.

Summary

Aveed (testosterone undecanoate) is a long-acting, man-made version of testosterone, the natural male sexual hormone used for testosterone replacement therapy. Common side effects of Aveed include acne, injection site pain, increased prostate specific antigen (PSA), hypogonadism, increased estradiol, fatigue, insomnia, and aggression. Serious side effects of Aveed include a serious lung problem called pulmonary oil micro embolism (POME) as well as a serious allergic reaction after receiving the injection. Drug interactions of Aveed include warfarin because testosterone can reduce breakdown of warfarin. Testosterone can decrease blood glucose, so insulin requirements may change in diabetic patients. Aveed is not recommended for pregnant women or in women who may become pregnant; it causes fetal harm. Aveed is not recommended for breastfeeding mothers due to high risks of infant harm and serious adverse events.

Treatment & Diagnosis

Medications & Supplements

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Medically Reviewed on 5/1/2020
References
FDA Prescribing Information

Professional side effects and drug interactions sections courtesy of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
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