Population-based patterns of prescription androgen use, 1976-2008

Susan A. Hall, Gayatri Ranganathan, Liane J. Tinsley, Jennifer L. Lund, Varant Kupelian, Gary A. Wittert, Philip W. Kantoff, Alvaro Morales, Andre B. Araujo

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Prescription testosterone (T) has limited approved medical indications and is a controlled substance in Canada. Utilization studies in other Westernized countries have revealed sharp increases in T use in recent years. We examined medical use of androgens, including T, over a 30-year period among adult (18+) men in a population-based study set in a Canadian juridisdiction of universal health care. Methods: Analyses were based on data from electronic records of dispensed prescriptions during 1976-2008 in Saskatchewan, Canada. All formulations of androgens listed in the provincial formulary (oral and injectable) were included. We examined demographics of users, androgen types used, switching patterns, and trends in the annual rate of use over time. Results: There were 11521 androgen users who were followed for an average of 11.8years. Overall, 11 types of androgens were used, and there were 86812 dispensing events. The mean age at first use was 56.4years (median: 58). Men had 7.5 prescription dispensing events on average (median: 2). The most commonly used formulations were methyl-T (36.2% of users) followed by T-enanthate (32.5%), T-cypionate (22.3%), and T-undecanoate (20.0%). Most users (82%) did not switch among androgen types. The annual rate of use varied substantially over time, with a marked increase observed from 1994 to 1999 and a decrease from 2000 to 2008. Conclusions: Androgen users were largely middle aged and had relatively few dispensings. We hypothesize that observed secular trends in androgen use may align with drug treatment pattern changes for erectile dysfunction, including the advent of phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)498-506
Number of pages9
JournalPharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished or Issued - May 2014


  • Androgens
  • Drug utilization
  • Hypogonadism
  • Pharmacoepidemiology
  • Testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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