Hormone shortages

Hormone shortages

At times, supply shortages can make it difficult to get your usual hormone medications. Here are some strategies for avoiding interruptions to your treatment. 

While shortages can happen with any hormone medication, shortages of injectable testosterone are the most common.

If you find yourself running low on your hormone medication and you’re concerned about a shortage of your prescription:

  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 other local pharmacies to ask about availability of your prescription. At times, it can 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). Your pharmacist may be able to contact your prescriber to approve a temporary change if you can find your medication in a different form.

Safety tip

Different types of injectable testosterone have different concentrations, so you may need to change the amount you inject to get the same dose. 

For example, if your usual medication is:

MedicationYou inject
60 mg weekly of testosterone cypionate0.6 ml of medication
For the same dose of testosterone enanthate0.3 ml of medication

Speak to your physician, nurse practitioner or pharmacist if you’re unsure how much to inject.

  1. Contact your health care provider to discuss the situation as 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 usual medication is available.

Medication costs and potential coverage

If you do end up switching hormone medications, the temporary one may be more expensive than your usual medication. For example, topical forms of testosterone are significantly more expensive than injectable testosterone.

If you are covered by Fair PharmaCare Provides eligible BC residents with coverage for some prescription drugs and medical supplies. , your physician or nurse practitioner can apply for Special Authority coverage for topical testosterone and state that injectable forms of testosterone are currently unavailable. If you are not covered by Fair PharmaCare, more information about eligibility and how to apply can be found here.

If you are covered under FNHA, any medication that is covered by Fair PharmaCare is also covered by First Nations Health Authority. Your physician or nurse practitioner can apply for Special Authority A BC government system for obtaining coverage for prescription medications not covered by PharmaCare. as noted above. More information about gender-affirming health care benefits for those covered by FNHA can be found here on our Info for Indigenous People page. 

Questions from you or your health care provider

If your health care provider is unsure about how to help or has questions about hormone shortages or applying for Special Authority, they can call the RACE line and speak to an expert in trans health.

Need support?

Contact our team of experienced health navigators for information about gender-affirming care in B.C.