Why do I need blood work? One of the purposes behind drawing blood for analysis is to provide our physician a means to compare how you are responding to therapy with your hormone blood levels and other important indicators of your health. This information allows Dr. Saya to make appropriate adjustments to your regimen that not only improve how you are feeling but minimize any side effects and risks with treatment. The laboratory analysis of your blood will also provide a comparison with initial blood work and provide data that will aid in the development of your treatment plan.

Who is required to have blood work? Any patient who is on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or testosterone restoration therapy (TRT).

How often is blood work required? Each patient at Defy Medical starts with a comprehensive blood analysis prior to beginning therapy. The first follow up is required 90 days after starting therapy. Once this review is complete, follow-up labs will be required twice per year, unless additional labs are requested by Dr Saya or the patient. In some cases, certain conditions or diseases may require additional monitoring where more blood work is required.

What blood tests am I receiving? This depends on factors such as the patient’s sex, type of therapy, and medications being prescribed. Typically our standard follow-up lab panel includes analysis of kidney, liver, and other organ function through a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP-14). We also look at red and white blood cells; immune function; Lipids; diabetes risk; and nutritional deficiencies. Lastly, we look at key hormones such as testosterone, thyroid and pituitary function (growth hormone), Adrenal gland function, estrogens, and other sex hormones. We also have additional testing available by request, such as vitamin D3 and our cardiovascular risk panel. Follow up labs are customized to each patient depending on what program we are monitoring.

Where are the labs drawn? All blood is drawn at Defy Medical in Tampa, FL, or at a one of the Labcorp locations across the US. To find a Labcorp location near your home or office, please visit http://www.defymedical.com/services/laboratory-blood-testing

Will insurance cover my blood work? Although Defy Medical does not accept insurance, in some cases insurance does cover labs. Please let us know if you would like us to check your coverage. We also provide Claim Assistance by completing the necessary paperwork needed to submit for reimbursement from your insurance company. Claim Assistance does not guarantee reimbursement; this will be determined by your insurance company.

How do I schedule my blood work follow up? Patient Portal: You may order and schedule your lab work by logging into your patient portal and following the instructions for ordering lab work. If you have not been registered for the new online patient portal, please let any of our staff know and we will assist you in the process. Email: Send your lab request to: info@defymedical.com Phone: Call our main number at 813-445-7342 and any of our staff can assist you with your lab order. Fax: Send your lab order request to 813-445-7340 Labs will tell us what is happening in your blood, we need you to tell us what is happening to you. How do you feel today? Are you experiencing any symptoms which you would like Dr Saya to address? As usual, you are welcome to call us at our office to schedule a consultation anytime. Our goal is to provide all patients with optimal service and medical care. If you need assistance or would like to speak with Dr Saya regarding your treatment, please let us know.
Published in Defy Medical Blog

During the last year we have had an increase in reports from men stating that they are running out of their testosterone cypionate injections before the refill date. This article will hopefully help mitigate this problem. Lets first rule out those who over-draw the testosterone into the syringe, of course we must pay attention to detail when it comes to lining up the syringe plunger with the dosage line. If we are not paying attention, or have not been instructed properly, over drawing just a small amount of testosterone at each injection can result in running out of the medication prior to your refill date. There are other factors which can cause loss of testosterone as you inject regularly. If you notice at the base of your needle, where you attach the needle to the syringe, there is empty space which can trap the testosterone even after depressing the plunger completely. There always seems to be that little bit of medication that will not leave the needle space. In addition to the testosterone being trapped in the needle, there is also a small amount left behind on the internal syringe walls. This type of loss is unavoidable when using a 3ml or syringe with larger surface area for the medication to 'stick' to'. Over the course of administering ten to twenty injections using a 10ml multi-dosed bottle that little bit of lost testosterone adds up.

One of the reasons I believe we have noticed the rise in reports of men running out early during the past year is the result of increased regulations regarding the prescribing and dispensing of testosterone. It is a controlled substance which was previously overlooked by most regulators, and patients had the convenience of refilling earlier than due. I remember being able to refill 3 weeks early on a 10ml bottle. Now, with the regulations, it is 3 days to one week prior to being due depending on the pharmacy. This means we now have to be mindful of our dosage and injection technique.

There is one thing being done by manufacturers and compounders to mitigate the loss. There is also something you can do to make your testosterone last the entire time up to your refill time.

At least one brand of testosterone cypionate and most compounded 10ml cypionates are actually overfilled to help compensate for the expected loss. Pfizer's Depot Testosterone is filled over 10ML. As of 2010, if I remember correctly, close to 10.8ml. The compounding pharmacies we use all fill the bottle to 11ml, which will help compensate the unavoidable loss. We had the opportunity to confirm this in a pharmacy setting in 2010 (APS Pharmacy, FL). During this test we also were able to observe the variations in the loss of medication between different syringes. Three commonly prescribed testosterone cypionate 200mg/ml 10ml bottles were selected, including Pfizer's Depot Testosterone, Watson's testosterone cypionate, and compounded testosterone cypionate. First, using a larger 12ml syringe we drew the entire contents of each bottle to confirm they were at least 10ml. A separate syringe was dedicated to each bottle to ensure accuracy. Next, using a new bottle of each testosterone cypionate and using ten individual 3ml syringes dedicated to each bottle, we drew 1ml into each 3ml syringe. This phase confirmed that each bottle lost an average of 1ml using ten 3ml syringes to draw 1ml versus using a 12ml syringe to draw the entire contents. You must be careful to accurately measure your dosage when injecting your testosterone using a 3ml syringe.

If you are having trouble drawing with a 3ml syringe, or if you are on a decimal dosage (such as 0.75ml), try using a 1ml Luerlock syringe. It looks similar to an "insulin" or tuberculin syringe but can be attached with any size/gauge needle. The 1ml Luerlock allows any standard needle to be secured onto the syringe. Two benefits to using a 1ml syringe: 1- You will draw your dose more accurately 2- There is less surface area on the internal syringe wall for the testosterone to adhere to when your weekly dosage is split into two injections using the 1ml Luerlock. I also find it easier to inject with proper technique when personally using a 1ml syringe.

2016 update:

I am currently working with another compounding pharmacy to perform testing including a similar test as mentioned in this article. I will post the details along with pictures/video when completed.

Jasen Bruce

Published in Defy Medical Blog