Generic Name: testosterone topical (tes TOS ter one TOP i kal)
Brand Name: Androderm, AndroGel Packets, AndroGel Pump 1.25 g/actuation, Axiron, FIRST-Testosterone, Fortesta, Testim, Vogelxo
What is testosterone topical?
Testosterone is a naturally occurring male hormone necessary for many processes in the body.
Testosterone topical (for the skin) is used to treat conditions in men that result from a lack of natural testosterone.
Testosterone will not enhance athletic performance and should not be used for that purpose.
Testosterone topical may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about testosterone topical?
You should not use this medicine if you have prostate cancer or male breast cancer.
Testosterone can cause birth defects in an unborn baby. A pregnant woman should avoid coming into contact with this medicine, or with a man's skin where the medicine has been applied.
Topical testosterone is absorbed through the skin and can cause side effects or symptoms of male features in a child or woman who comes into contact with this medicine. Call your doctor if a person who has close contact with you develops enlarged genitals, premature pubic hair, increased libido, aggressive behavior, male-pattern baldness, excessive body hair growth, increased acne, irregular menstrual periods, or any signs of male characteristics.
Misuse of testosterone can cause dangerous or irreversible effects. Never use more than your prescribed dose. Do not share this medicine with another person.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using testosterone topical?
You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to testosterone patches or gels, or if you have;
prostate cancer; or
male breast cancer.
To make sure testosterone is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
enlarged prostate, urination problems;
sleep apnea (breathing stops during sleep);
heart disease, heart attack, or stroke;
a blood clot;
liver disease or kidney disease.
Older men who use testosterone topical may have an increased risk of prostate enlargement or cancer. If you are over 65, talk with your doctor about your specific risk.
This medicine should not be used by a woman. Testosterone can cause birth defects in an unborn baby. A pregnant woman should avoid coming into contact with testosterone topical patches or gels, or with a man's skin areas where a patch has been worn or the gel has been applied. If contact does occur, wash with soap and water right away.
Do not use testosterone topical on anyone younger than 18 years old.
The testosterone transdermal patch may burn your skin if you wear the patch during an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). Remove the patch before undergoing such a test.
How should I use testosterone topical?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Never use testosterone topical in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed.
Misuse of testosterone can cause dangerous or irreversible effects, such as enlarged breasts, small testicles, infertility, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, liver disease, bone growth problems, addiction, and mental effects such as aggression and violence.
Do not share this medicine with another person.
Different brands of testosterone topical have different instructions for use. Not every brand of this medicine is used on the same skin areas. Some brands are applied to the shoulder, upper arm, or stomach. Other brands are applied to the thighs or to the underarms. Carefully follow the patient instructions provided with your medicine.
Do not apply testosterone topical to your penis or scrotum. Some brands of this medicine should also not be applied to the back, chest, or stomach areas. Apply this medicine only to the skin areas recommended for your specific brand of testosterone topical.
Apply testosterone gel to dry skin after showering or bathing. Allow the medicine to dry for at least 5 minutes before you dress.
Wash your hands with soap and water after applying the gel.
Cover treated skin areas with clothing to keep from getting this medicine on other people. If someone else does come into contact with a treated skin area, they must wash the contact area right away with soap and water.
Apply the transdermal skin patch to a flat, clean, dry, and undamaged area of skin on your back, stomach, upper arm, or thigh. Wear the patch for 24 hours and then replace it with a new patch. Choose a different skin area each time you put on a new patch. Do not use the same skin area twice in a 7-day period.
While using testosterone topical, you may need frequent blood tests.
Use testosterone topical regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
Keep each skin patch in the foil pouch until you are ready to use it. Do not use a skin patch that has been cut or damaged After removing a skin patch, fold it closed with the sticky side in, and throw it away in a place where pets and children cannot reach it.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Apply the gel or skin patch as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time to apply your next dose. Do not use extra patches or gel to make up the missed dose.
If a skin patch falls off in the morning, reapply it. If it does not stick well, apply a new patch. If the patch falls off in the afternoon and cannot be reapplied, wait until your regular patch replacement time in the evening before putting on a new patch.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while using testosterone topical?
Do not apply this medicine to your penis or your scrotum.
Avoid swimming, bathing, or showering for 2 to 5 hours after applying testosterone gel. Follow the directions provided with your specific brand.
Avoid using lotions, oils, or other skin products on the area where you will apply the skin patch. The patch may not stick properly to the skin.
Testosterone gel may be flammable. Avoid using near open flame, and do not smoke until the gel has completely dried on your skin.
If your doctor recommends a topical steroid medicine such as hydrocortisone to treat skin irritation caused by wearing a testosterone skin patch, avoid using an ointment form of the steroid.
Testosterone topical side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using testosterone topical and call your doctor at once if you have:
increased urination (many times per day), loss of bladder control;
painful or difficult urination;
breast pain or swelling;
painful or bothersome erections;
swelling, rapid weight gain, shortness of breath during sleep;
chest pain or pressure, pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder;
liver problems--nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
signs of a blood clot in the lung--chest pain, sudden cough, wheezing, rapid breathing, coughing up blood; or
signs of a blood clot in your leg--pain, swelling, warmth, or redness in one or both legs.
Topical testosterone is absorbed through the skin and can cause symptoms of male features in a woman or child who comes into contact with the medication. Call your doctor if your female partner has male-pattern baldness, excessive body hair growth, increased acne, irregular menstrual periods, or any other signs of male characteristics.
Common side effects may include:
redness, itching, burning, hardened skin or other irritation where the medicine was applied or where the skin patch was worn;
headache, mood changes;
increased red blood cells (may cause dizziness, itching, redness in your face, or muscle pain);
frequent or prolonged erections; or
high blood pressure--severe headache, blurred vision, pounding in your neck or ears.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Testosterone topical dosing information
Usual Adult Dose for Hypogonadism -- Male:
-Testosterone Undecanoate: 750 mg (3 mL) IM injection followed by 750 mg (3 mL) injected after 4 weeks, then 750 mg (3 mL) every 10 weeks thereafter
-Testosterone Enanthate and Cypionate: 50 to 400 mg IM injection every 2 to 4 weeks
-2 to 6 pellets (75 mg each) implanted subcutaneously every 3 to 6 months.
-The number of pellets to be implanted depends upon the minimal daily requirements of testosterone propionate administered parenterally. Thus, implant two 75 mg pellets for each 25 mg testosterone propionate required weekly.
-The chronological and skeletal ages must be taken into consideration, both in determining the initial dose and in adjusting the dose.
-This drug should be used only if the benefits outweigh the serious risks of pulmonary oil microembolism and anaphylaxis.
-Injections more frequently than every two weeks are not recommended.
-Adequate effect of the implants (pellets) continues for three to four months, sometimes as long as six months.
-Mucoadhesive Oral Patch: Apply a 30 mg patch to the gum region twice a day; morning and evening (about 12 hours apart).
-Transdermal Film: 2 to 6 mg applied to the back, abdomen, upper arm, or upper thigh once a day, preferably at night.
-Gel (in tubes, packets or spray): 5 g applied once a day, preferably in the morning. Consult the manufacturer product information for specific dosage and additional instructions of use.
-Transdermal Solution: Initial dose is 60 mg of testosterone (1 pump actuation of 30 mg of testosterone to each axilla), applied once a day, at the same time each morning. Consult the manufacturer product information for specific dosage and additional instructions of use.
Comments: Prior to initiating therapy with this drug, confirm the diagnosis of hypogonadism by ensuring that serum testosterone concentrations have been measured in the morning on at least two separate days, and that these serum testosterone concentrations are below the normal range.
-Primary hypogonadism (congenital or acquired): Testicular failure due to conditions such as cryptorchidism, bilateral torsion, orchitis, vanishing testis syndrome, orchiectomy, Klinefelter Syndrome, chemotherapy, or toxic damage from alcohol or heavy metals. These men usually have low serum testosterone concentrations and gonadotropins (FSH, LH) above the normal range.
-Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (congenital or acquired): Gonadotropin or luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) deficiency or pituitary-hypothalamic injury from tumors, trauma, or radiation. These men have low testosterone serum concentrations but have gonadotropins in the normal or low range.
Usual Adult Dose for Breast Cancer--Palliative:
-200 to 400 mg IM injection every 2 to 4 weeks
-Androgen therapy can accelerate the disease. Close monitoring is recommended.
-Report any hoarseness, acne, changes in menstrual periods, or more facial hair.
-This drug may be used secondarily in women with advancing inoperable metastatic (skeletal) mammary cancer who are one to five years postmenopausal.
-Premenopausal women with breast cancer who have benefited from oophorectomy and are considered to have a hormone-responsive tumor.
Usual Pediatric Dose for Delayed Puberty -- Male:
-Testosterone Enanthate: 50 to 200 mg every 2 to 4 weeks for 4 to 6 months
-2 pellets (each pellet contain 75 mg of testosterone) implanted subcutaneously every 3 to 6 months
-Duration of therapy: 4 to 6 months
-The chronological and skeletal ages should be taken into consideration when determining the initial dose and when adjusting the dose.
-An X-ray of the hand and wrist to determine bone age should be obtained every six months to assess the effect of treatment on the epiphyseal centers.
-Report frequent or persistent erections.
-Androgen therapy should be used very cautiously in children and only by specialists who are aware of the adverse effects on bone maturation.
Use: To stimulate puberty in selected males with clearly delayed puberty
What other drugs will affect testosterone topical?
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:
a blood thinner (warfarin, Coumadin, Jantoven); or
steroid medicine (methylprednisolone, prednisone, and others.)
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with testosterone, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
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Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about testosterone topical.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
- Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 14.01.
Date modified: September 05, 2017
Last reviewed: August 15, 2017