Hormone therapy during the COVID-19 outbreak – patient information

The COVID-19 situation in the UK is evolving and changing each day and is impacting everyday life and NHS services. We recognise that issues related to hormone therapy may arise. Until the situation settles, our general advice is that your GP continues your current treatment as long as there are no safety issues and as long as it can be accommodated by the GP practice.

Q: Why are my hormones not being changed/increased?

A: Given the pressures that NHS services are facing in light of COVID-19, we are generally not advising on changes or increases in doses for hormone therapy, until the COVID-19 outbreak is over, as further blood tests cannot be guaranteed at this time.

Q: My GP has paused my prescription as they are unable to organise routine monitoring blood tests at the moment.

A: Please ask your GP to see the GIC website advice page (link below) which asks them to continue your prescription and just organise monitoring blood tests once they are able to after the COVID situation has settled. Read more on our GP advice page

Q: There were abnormalities on my last blood tests.

A: We realise there are currently issues arranging non-urgent blood tests, but if there are safety issues relating to hormone therapy then we would expect blood tests to be considered urgent.

Q: I can’t get appointments for the practice nurse to administer my testosterone (Sustanon or Enanthate) injections.

A: Please ask your GP to consider switching you over to testosterone gel. Your GP should follow the advice on our GP advice page.

Q: I can’t get appointments for the practice nurse to administer my Nebido injections.

A: You can be reassured that Nebido is a long-acting testosterone formulation. Therefore, it is unlikely that testosterone levels will drop out of target range if an injection is delayed by a few weeks. However, we do not recommend that the injections are given early. If there are problems accommodating these injections then it is advisable for your GP to switch you over to testosterone gel. Your GP should follow the advice on our GP advice page.

Q: I can’t get an appointment for my GP practice to administer my Decapeptyl / Zoladex / Prostap injection.

A: It is fine to delay the injections even by several weeks as the effect is long-lasting. If they are unable for a longer period than this then you could ask your GP to provide Finasteride 5mg per day.Your GP should follow the advice on our GP advice page.

Q: What if my treatment is paused for a long time?

A: Physical harm is unlikely to occur if your hormone therapy is temporarily reduced or stopped. There may be a slight return of characteristics of birth assigned sex but these should revert when hormone therapy resumes. For people who have had genital reconstructive surgery, physical health complications are unlikely unless you are off hormone therapy for more than two years.

Q: What if my pharmacist has not got my usual medication?

A: There are alternative options – ask your pharmacist or GP to get in touch with us via gic.endocrine@nhs.net

Q: What can I do to ensure I am taking my hormone treatment safely during this time?

A: Look after yourself well – don’t smoke, drink within safe limits, aim to maintain a normal body weight. Follow a healthy diet and keep active. Stay hydrated.

Phone your GP rather than going in, to check what the situation is with their capacity at this time, for example when to do your injections and blood tests.

To help manage worries and anxieties related to the current situation please have a look at the support groups and resources page on this site or use the LGBT Foundation helpline: https://lgbt.foundation/helpline