Research Study

A Pilot Study of Subcutaneous vs. Intramuscular Testosterone for Gender Affirming Therapy
Principal Investigator 
David M. Wilson

Study Start/End 
May 13, 2015 to May 27, 2017
Vancouver Community
David M. Wilson, Clinical Instructor
Email Address
Purpose of Study 

For people who identify as transgender, there is a strong sense that they were born into the wrong body and that their outward looking body does not match how they truly feel about themselves. They feel male, not female and have always felt that way. There is a great deal of discomfort or dysphoria about looking and feeling female, and there is a strong desire to achieve a more masculine appearance. While surgery, clothing and hair for example, can help a person appear more like a male, many transgender males will want to take testosterone to make them feel and look more masculine.

This usually involves injecting testosterone into a muscle every 1-2 weeks for many years. Intramuscular injections can often be uncomfortable or painful, and requires the patient to be taught how to inject themselves. Or somebody else has to do it. There is a growing trend in some transgender men to give their injection just below the skin or subcutaneously (like insulin in a diabetic), because it is less uncomfortable but we don't really know if testosterone gets into the blood in the same way. At least one clinic in the US already suggests that patients can use the subcutaneous method but there is almost no research to show it's the same as intramuscular.

Our project will be looking at a small group of transgender males who are already on intramuscular testosterone and then switch them over to the same dose of subcutaneous testosterone, and then compare their levels of testosterone. If those levels are similar, then patients may chose the less uncomfortable subcutaneous injection.


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