Cyproterone acetate (also known as Cypro, Androcur, and Cy) is an anti-androgen medication that is commonly used in feminizing hormone therapy for transgender men. Apart from reducing the production of testosterone, it also blocks its action at the receptor level. It’s important to note that while these anti-androgen drugs are effective in reducing masculine sex characteristics and promoting feminine ones, they do not eliminate the risk of developing prostate cancer later on in life. As with any other type of hormone therapy, this treatment poses possible side effects such as headaches, dizziness, fatigue, hot flashes and weight gain. In this article we’ll cover everything you need to know about cyproterone acetate and its role in treating gender dysphoria.
What is Cyproterone Acetate
Cyproterone acetate is a synthetic anti-androgen drug that is commonly used in the treatment of gender dysphoria. It is often prescribed along with estrogen as part of feminizing hormone therapy. Cyproterone acetate is a member of a group of medications called anti-androgens which reduce the production of testosterone by blocking its action at the receptor level.
It can also block its conversion to estrogen, which is needed for the development and maintenance of masculine features (e.g. body hair and a deep voice). While it is effective in reducing masculine sex characteristics and promoting feminine ones, it does not eliminate the risk of developing prostate cancer later on in life. Cyproterone acetate is also used to treat severe acne, hair loss caused by certain types of medication, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
This medication should be used only if other treatments have not worked. Cyproterone acetate and other anti-androgens are used to treat precocious puberty in both children and adolescents.
How Cyproterone Acetate Works
The androgen receptor is a protein that is sensitive to the presence of testosterone. When the cyproterone acetate binds to the receptor, it “triggers” the androgen receptor to do its thing, which is to stimulate the formation of additional testosterone.
Without the cyproterone acetate, the androgen receptor would bind to testosterone and prompt it to stimulate the development of male sex characteristics. While medical research has yet to discover an exact mechanism by which cyproterone acetate blocks the production of testosterone, it’s thought that it interferes with the enzymes needed for testosterone synthesis, thereby reducing testosterone levels in the blood.
Why use Cyproterone Acetate for Hormone Therapy
Cyproterone acetate is often prescribed in combination with estradiol as part of a feminizing hormone therapy regimen. It is used to reduce high levels of testosterone and androstenedione, while increasing estrogen levels.
Though it is an anti-androgen, cyproterone acetate blocks the conversion of androstenedione to testosterone as well. The selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) estradiol is used to induce feminization by increasing estrogen and progesterone levels in the body. Estradiol can also be given alone to treat gender dysphoria in trans men who wish to retain their testicles. Cyproterone acetate is used along with estradiol in order to reduce testosterone levels and the risk of developing prostate cancer later in life.
How to Use Cyproterone Acetate for Trans Men
Cyproterone acetate is typically prescribed at a dosage of 50-100 mg daily in combination with estradiol (typically 2-8mg per day). Anti-androgen + estrogen therapy is the most common approach used in trans men’s hormone therapy.
It is important to keep in mind that these dosages are recommendations based on clinical experience and might differ from one individual to the other. The dosage should be adjusted accordingly to meet the needs of each individual. It’s important not to skip a day, as this can cause an excessive drop in testosterone and estrogen levels that could lead to a discontinuation crisis.
When used in combination with estradiol, cyproterone acetate is usually taken in the morning on an empty stomach. Estrogen is usually taken in the evening, with food. It’s important to follow these instructions, as it will reduce the risk of experiencing side effects. It’s also important to note that cyproterone acetate is metabolized by the cytochrome P450 enzyme, so it’s important to avoid taking other medications that are metabolized by the same enzyme.
Side Effects of Cyproterone Acetate
Like all drugs, cyproterone acetate is associated with certain side effects. This is why it’s important to discuss your options with your doctor, as well as monitor your symptoms. The most common side effects associated with cyproterone acetate include: – Less common side effects include an increased risk of developing diabetes and osteoporosis, as well as an increased risk of developing liver damage over time. It’s important to keep in mind that the side effects listed above are based on clinical experience and might differ from one individual to the other.
It’s important to keep in mind that these drugs do not eliminate the risk of developing prostate cancer later on in life. Furthermore, these treatments are reversible, unlike surgical procedures. It’s important to note, however, that anti-androgen therapy does not reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Cyproterone acetate is an effective and commonly used anti-androgen. It is often prescribed along with estradiol in feminizing hormone therapy for transgender men. It should be taken in the morning on an empty stomach and should not be taken with other medications (unless they are prescribed). It’s important to keep in mind that cyproterone acetate does not eliminate the risk of developing prostate cancer and is reversible.
It’s important to note that while these anti-androgen drugs are effective in reducing masculine sex characteristics and promoting feminine ones, they do not eliminate the risk of developing prostate cancer later on in life.