Using A TRT Clinic: Telemedicine for TRT treatment
Written by Leann Poston, M.D.
Who would have thought telemedicine would become as mainstream as it has in 2020? You may think telemedicine had its origins in the 21st century, but it has been around a lot longer than that. NASA funded telemedicine projects in the 1960s and 1970s (LaFolla, 2016). You may also think that TRT (testosterone replacement therapy) treatment is a relatively recent phenomenon. Testosterone was first isolated in 1935 and approved for medical use in 1938. Knowing that both telemedicine clinics and the use of testosterone for TRT have decades of history can increase anyone’s comfort level in an online TRT clinic. In this article, let’s look at what we know about telemedicine and especially online TRT clinics.
NASA funded several telemedicine projects in the 1960s and 1970s to develop ways to bring healthcare to astronauts. When television became more widespread live video medical consultations became a possibility. Space is certainly an underserved area in medicine, but so are our country’s rural areas today. The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) started reimbursing healthcare services via telemedicine in 1999 to rural, underserved areas. Since March 2020, CMS has authorized the use of telemedicine for doctors and other health care providers from offices, hospitals, and places of residence (Medicare.gov, 2020).
Another underserved area of medicine lies in the area of lifestyle medicine and aging. It is an area that many physicians are unfamiliar with. Telemedicine and online clinics have made this field of healthcare more accessible to all.
According to Medscape (n. d.), in a 2019 survey, 66% of consumers said they were willing to use telemedicine, and 70% of employers said they were currently offering or planning to offer telehealth coverage for employees. There are many advantages and a few disadvantages to telemedicine, but overall, people are much more knowledgeable about how telemedicine can benefit them than they were a year ago.
Research by the Pew Research Center in 2015 found that 84% of Americans use the internet, and two-thirds own a smartphone (Perrin & Duggan, 2015). These are the only tools necessary to take part in telehealth.
When choosing a telehealth provider, you will probably have the following questions:
- How much will the services cost?
- Will your insurance cover the costs?
- How are the medical records stored?
- Is your medical information secure?
- Do you have to sign a contract for a certain number of months?
- If you are not a candidate for treatment, will they refund any part of your investment?
- Is the health care provider licensed in your state?
Invigor Medical recognizes these concerns and takes steps to be transparent and secure. Contact an Invigor Medical representative to learn more about the services offered and their costs.
TRT Treatment via telemedicine
The primary concern of anyone providing medical care is to first do no harm. All medications have side-effects. No health care provider can be fully knowledgeable about every medication choice and disease process. The explosion of information available via the internet has made this even more true. With this in mind, your primary concern should be that you receive safe, legal treatment for low testosterone levels. The best way to do so is to contact a provider at a local TRT clinic or use TRT telemedicine services. Online clinics provide the specialized care you are seeking and do so in a safe, confidential manner.
TRT treatment requires a prescription. Any company or website offering TRT without requiring a prescription is not following treatment guidelines and requirements and is operating illegally. Buying testosterone without having it prescribed by a licensed, board-certified health-care provider is illegal and unsafe. Verify that the website and clinic are located in the U.S. and therefore must follow U.S. prescribing regulations. A practitioner in a TRT clinic offering telemedicine services must follow the same stringent prescribing guidelines that local clinics and medical practitioners must follow.
A 2018 study focused on the availability and ease of purchase of anabolic steroids on the internet. The researchers did a google search and then evaluated each site that offered anabolic-androgenic steroids online. Their results:
- 87% of sites offered commonly used anabolic steroids
- 75% offered one post-cycle recovery agent
- 62% offered one medication to treat erectile dysfunction
- No site required a prescription for the purchase of any substance
- 75% accepted payment by credit card
- 75% offered specific stacking and cycling recommendations
- 62% provided post-cycle recovery information
- Only one site offered alternatives to anabolic steroids (McBride, Carson, & Coward, 2018).
Researchers found injectable testosterone is easily purchased over the internet and delivered to a customer’s home with no prescription required. The study also confirmed that most anabolic steroids available over the internet are manufactured by unregulated international pharmacies and are of unknown quality or content. (McBride, Carson, & Coward, 2018).
What to expect from a TRT Clinic
When you call or set up a consultation with a health care provider at a reputable TRT clinic such as Invigor Medical, you can expect to learn more about the benefits of TRT treatment. You will be asked to share the symptoms you are experiencing. You will learn about the TRT testing process and the steps you need to complete to determine whether low testosterone levels are causing your symptoms. If you and your health care provider determine that testosterone replacement is the best treatment option for you, you will receive a prescription and instructions on using your medication properly.
The diagnosis and treatment of low testosterone is a three-step process:
- Lab work to verify whether low testosterone is causing your symptoms.
- An analysis of the risks and benefits of using TRT. This analysis requires a thorough medical exam and review of your medical history.
- A review of your medical history is also used to determine whether you have any known contraindications to TRT treatment.
Testosterone cypionate is a Schedule III controlled substance. Drugs that are listed as Schedule III controlled substances have a lower abuse potential than Schedule 1 or 2 drugs, have an accepted medical use for treatment in the U.S., and may lead to moderate to low physical dependence or high psychological dependence if the drug is abused (Legal Information Institute, n.d.).
According to the F.D.A, testosterone has been abused and misused by athletes and bodybuilders. Using testosterone abusively can cause serious side effects. Some serious adverse effects that have been reported when testosterone was used inappropriately include the following:
- Cardiac arrest
- Heart attacks
- Enlarged heart
- Congestive heart failure
- Liver toxicity
- Serious psychiatric symptoms
- Abnormal lipid levels
Drug dependence in individuals using approved doses of testosterone has not been documented (Drugs.com. 2019).
Using a telemedicine clinic to purchase TRT treatment safely
Hypogonadism from low testosterone levels is a well recognized medical condition with standards of care defined by the American Urological Association. Testosterone replacement for decreased testosterone levels due to the aging process is not as well-recognized but is the subject of several ongoing clinical trials. Nevertheless, the protocol to determine whether a man is a TRT candidate has been peer-reviewed and standardized. Invigor Medical follows this protocol and, at its completion, writes prescriptions for men who meet the criteria for being a good candidate for TRT.
Their careful process does not stop there. Invigor Medical has partnered with Olympia Pharmacy, a U.S. based, licensed compounding pharmacy in Florida to provide prescription medications.
Summary: What researchers found
When researchers asked 43 androgenic steroid users and 37 comparison weight lifters their opinion on physicians and the medical care they have received, both groups gave physicians high marks on knowledge about general health, cigarette smoking, alcohol use, and conventional illicit drug use, but both groups gave them low marks on knowledge about androgenic steroids. They rated physician knowledge as about equal to their friends, the internet, and drug dealers. The researchers pointed out that their sample size was small, and there was some subjectivity to it, but the point remains, choose a medical clinic staffed with health care providers knowledgeable about your medical symptoms and condition (Pope at el, 2004).
While we strive to always provide accurate, current, and safe advice in all of our articles and guides, it’s important to stress that they are no substitute for medical advice from a doctor or healthcare provider. You should always consult a practicing professional who can diagnose your specific case. The content we’ve included in this guide is merely meant to be informational and does not constitute medical advice.
- LaFolla, T. (2016). History of Telemedicine Infographic. Retrieved from https://blog.evisit.com/virtual-care-blog/history-telemedicine-infographic
- Perrin, A. & Duggan, M. (2015). Americans’ Internet Access: 2000-2015. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2015/06/26/americans-internet-access-2000-2015/
- Medicare. gov (2020). Telehealth. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/telehealth
- Medscape. (n.d.) What is telemedicine? Retrieved from https://www.medscape.com/courses/section/921359
- Drugs.com. (2019). Testosterone. Retrieved from https://www.drugs.com/pro/testosterone.html
- Legal Information Institute. (n.d.). 21 U.S. Code 812-Schedules of Controlled Substances. Retrieved from https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/21/812
- McBride, J. A., Carson, C. C., 3rd, & Coward, R. M. (2018). The Availability and Acquisition of Illicit Anabolic Androgenic Steroids and Testosterone Preparations on the Internet. American journal of men’s health, 12(5), 1352–1357. https://doi.org/10.1177/1557988316648704
- Pope H. G., Kanayama G., Ionescu-Pioggia M., Hudson J. I. (2004). Anabolic steroid users’ attitudes towards physicians. Addiction, 99, 1189-1194. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2004.00781.x