Generic name: testosterone (tes-TOS-ter-one un-dek-a-NOE-ate)
Drug class: Androgens and anabolic steroids
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Dec 21, 2021.
Warning: Blood Pressure IncreasesTestosterone undecanoate can cause blood pressure (BP) increases that can increase the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE), including non-fatal myocardial infarction, non-fatal stroke and cardiovascular death. Before initiating testosterone undecanoate, consider the patient’s baseline cardiovascular risk and ensure blood pressure is adequately controlled. Periodically monitor for and treat new-onset hypertension or exacerbations of pre-existing hypertension and re-evaluate whether the benefits of testosterone undecanoate outweigh its risks in patients who develop cardiovascular risk factors or cardiovascular disease on treatment. Due to this risk, use testosterone undecanoate only for the treatment of men with hypogonadal conditions associated with structural or genetic etiologies .
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
- Capsule, Liquid Filled
Therapeutic Class: Endocrine-Metabolic Agent
Pharmacologic Class: Testosterone
Uses for testosterone
Testosterone is used for the treatment of men whose bodies do not make enough natural testosterone, a condition called hypogonadism. Testosterone is a male hormone responsible for the growth and development of the male sex organs and maintenance of secondary sex characteristics. Testosterone is not for use in women.
Testosterone is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using testosterone
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For testosterone, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to testosterone or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of testosterone in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
Appropriate studies on the relationship of age to the effects of testosterone have not been performed in the geriatric population. However, elderly patients are more likely to have heart or prostate problems (including enlarged prostate), which may require caution in patients receiving testosterone.
Studies in women breastfeeding have demonstrated harmful infant effects. An alternative to this medication should be prescribed or you should stop breastfeeding while using testosterone.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking testosterone, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using testosterone with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Paclitaxel Protein-Bound
Using testosterone with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of testosterone. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Blood disorder (eg, polycythemia)—May increase risk for thromboembolic diseases (blood clots).
- Blood clotting problems (eg, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism) or
- Diabetes or
- Drug abuse or dependence, or history of or
- Enlarged prostate or
- Heart attack, or history of or
- Heart or blood vessel disease or
- Hypercalcemia (high calcium in the blood) or
- Hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol or fats in the blood) or
- Hypertension (high blood pressure) or
- Liver disease or
- Sleep apnea (breathing problem) or
- Stroke, history of—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
- Breast cancer (in males) or
- Hypogonadism, age-related or
- Prostate cancer, known or suspected—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
- Heart disease (eg, congestive heart failure) or
- Kidney disease or
- Liver disease—Use with caution. Testosterone may cause edema (fluid retention) in patients with these conditions.
- Lung disease, chronic or
- Obesity—Use with caution. May increase risk for more side effects.
Proper use of testosterone
Take testosterone only as directed by your doctor. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered.
Testosterone should come with a Medication Guide. Read and follow the instructions carefully. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.
Take testosterone with food.
The dose of testosterone will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of testosterone. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For oral dosage form (capsules):
- For low testosterone levels:
- Adults—Dose is based on the testosterone concentration level in your blood and must be determined by your doctor. At first, the dose is 237 milligrams (mg) taken 2 times a day, in the morning and in the evening. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed. However, the dose is not more than 396 mg per day.
- Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- For low testosterone levels:
If you miss a dose of testosterone, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
Precautions while using testosterone
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that testosterone is working properly. Blood and urine tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
Testosterone should not be used by women, especially those who are pregnant or might become pregnant. Testosterone may cause birth defects if a pregnant woman comes in contact with the medicine. Make sure your doctor knows if your sexual partner is pregnant. If a pregnancy occurs while you are using testosterone, tell your doctor right away.
Your blood pressure might get too high while you are using testosterone. This may cause headaches, dizziness, or blurred vision. You might need to measure your blood pressure at home. If you think your blood pressure is too high, call your doctor right away.
Testosterone may increase the risk of prostate cancer, especially in older men. Make sure your doctor knows if you have prostate cancer, or if anyone in your family has prostate cancer.
Testosterone may cause blood clotting problems. Tell your doctor right away if you have pain, redness, or swelling in the arm or leg, sharp pains in the chest, or trouble breathing.
Testosterone may increase your risk of having heart or blood vessel problems, including a heart attack or stroke. Tell your doctor right away if you have chest pain that may spread to your arms, jaw, back, or neck, faintness, headache, nausea, vomiting, trouble breathing, trouble seeing or speaking, or unusual sweating.
Check with your doctor right away if you have pain or tenderness in the upper stomach, pale stools, dark urine, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem.
Testosterone may cause some people to be agitated, irritable, or display other abnormal behaviors. It may also cause some people to have suicidal thoughts and tendencies or to become more depressed. Also tell your doctor if you have sudden or strong feelings, such as feeling nervous, angry, restless, violent, or scared. If you or your caregiver notice any of these side effects, tell your doctor right away.
Testosterone may cause swelling of the breasts (gynecomastia) and breast pain in some patients. If you have questions about this, talk to your doctor.
Hypercalcemia (high calcium in the blood) may occur in patients taking testosterone. Check with your doctor right away if you have stomach pain, confusion, constipation, depression, dry mouth, increased urination, loss of appetite, metallic taste, or muscle weakness.
Testosterone may cause changes in the level of cholesterol and fats in your blood. If this condition occurs, your doctor may give you a medicine to adjust the cholesterol and fats. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns.
Testosterone may be habit-forming. If you feel that the medicine is not working as well, do not use more than your prescribed dose. Call your doctor for instructions.
In some cases, testosterone may decrease the amount of sperm men make and affect their ability to have children. Talk with your doctor before you use testosterone if you plan to have children.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.
Testosterone side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Bleeding from the gums or nose
- bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
- blurred vision
- enlarged prostate
- eye pain
- feeling sad or empty
- lack of appetite
- loss of interest or pleasure
- painful or difficult urination
- pounding in the ears
- rapid weight gain
- ringing in the ears
- slow or fast heartbeat
- stomach pain
- tingling of the hands or feet
- trouble concentrating
- trouble sleeping
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- unusual weight gain or loss
- Changes in behavior
- thoughts of killing oneself
Incidence not known
- Chest pain or discomfort
- difficulty breathing
- difficulty in speaking
- double vision
- inability to move the arms, legs, or facial muscles
- inability to speak
- pain in the chest, groin, or legs, especially the calves
- pain or discomfort in the arms, jaw, back, or neck
- severe, sudden headache
- slow or slurred speech
- sudden loss of coordination
- sudden, severe weakness or numbness in the arm or leg
- vision changes
Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur:
Symptoms of overdose
- Blurred vision
- inability to speak
- severe or sudden headache
- slurred speech
- temporary blindness
- weakness in the arm or leg on one side of the body, sudden and severe
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- bloated, full feeling
- excess air or gas in the stomach
- stomach discomfort or upset
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Frequently asked questions
More about testosterone
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- Drug class: androgens and anabolic steroids
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