Testosterone (On the skin)
Treats low testosterone levels when your body does not produce enough natural testosterone. Testosterone is a male hormone.
Androgel, Testim, Fortesta, AndroGel, Axiron, First-Testosterone, First-Testosterone MC
There may be other brand names for this medicine.
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to testosterone, alcohol, or soy products. You should not use this medicine if you have male breast cancer or prostate cancer. Testosterone gel and solution should only be used by men and must not be used by women. Testosterone can cause birth defects if a pregnant woman comes into contact with a man's skin that has been treated with this medicine.
How to Use This Medicine
Gel/Jelly, Kit, Liquid
- Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
- This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. Ask your pharmacist for the Medication Guide if you do not have one.
- This medicine comes with patient instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
- Apply this medicine each morning, unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Be sure to apply your daily dose at the same time each day.
- If you are using the gel:
- If you are using the pump gel for the first time, prime the pump before measuring out your first dose. Hold the pump over a sink and press the pump all the way down at least 3 times or until the gel begins to flow freely. Rinse the medicine discarded into the sink down the drain. Now place the palm of your hand under the pump and press the pump the proper number of times to measure out your correct dose.
- If you are using the gel in foil packets, tear the packet completely open along the perforation. Squeeze the entire contents directly onto the skin where you will apply the gel. You may also empty the packet into the palm of your hand and then apply the medicine. Throw away the empty foil packet in a place where children and pets cannot reach it.
- Apply the gel only to clean, dry skin on the shoulders, upper arms, or abdomen (stomach) unless your doctor tells you to use it on another part of your body. Do not apply this medicine to your scrotum or your penis. Do not use the medicine on skin that has a cut, scrape, or other type of injury.
- Allow the gel to dry on your skin before you cover it with clothing (such as a t-shirt). Wait for 5 hours after applying this medicine before you shower or swim.
- If you are using the topical solution:
- If you are using the pump solution for the first time, prime the pump before measuring out your first dose. Hold the pump over a sink or basin and press the pump all the way down at least 3 times or until the solution begins to flow freely. Rinse the medicine discarded into the sink down the drain. Now place the cup under the pump and press the pump the proper number of times to measure out your correct dose.
- Use an applicator to apply the solution only to a clean and dry skin of your armpits. Do not apply this medicine to any other parts of your body, such as your stomach, shoulders, upper arms, scrotum, or penis. Do not use the medicine on skin that has a cut, scrape, or other type of injury.
- If the medicine drips or runs, wipe it back with an applicator. Do not rub the solution with your fingers or hand once it has been applied.
- Allow the solution to dry on your skin before you cover it with clothing. Wait at least 2 hours after applying this medicine before you shower or swim.
- Rinse the applicator cup with running water and pat dry with a tissue. Put the applicator cup and cap back into the pump bottle.
- You may also use an antiperspirant or deodorant spray before applying the solution. It should be applied at least 2 minutes before you apply this medicine.
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water immediately after using this medicine.
- Do not get this medicine in your eyes. If you do, rinse your eyes right away with clean, warm water and call your doctor.
If a dose is missed:
- If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, apply it as soon as you can. If it is less than 12 hours until your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not apply extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine
- Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
- Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of the used medicine container and any leftover medicine after you have finished your treatment. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
- Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using insulin or propranolol (Inderal®). Tell your doctor if you are also using a steroid medicine (such as cortisone, dexamethasone, prednisone, or Medrol®) or a blood thinner (such as warfarin, Coumadin®).
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- This medicine 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.
- Tell your doctor if you have an enlarged prostate, diabetes, edema (fluid retention), heart disease, high calcium in the blood, kidney disease, liver disease, lung disease, or any breathing problems (such as sleep apnea). Make sure your doctor knows if your female partner is pregnant while you are using this medicine.
- This medicine can be transferred to another person if that person touches or rubs the skin where you apply the medicine. To keep this from happening, wash your hands with soap and water immediately after applying the medicine. Also, cover the skin with clothing where you applied the medicine after the gel has dried. Wash the area where you applied the gel with soap and water if you expect to have skin-to-skin contact with another person.
- Children and women should avoid contact with the unwashed or unclothed area where the gel or solution has been applied. If another person does accidentally get this medicine on their skin, wash the area with soap and water as soon as possible.
- Stop using this medicine and tell your doctor if your female partner or child starts to have male-like body changes while you are using this medicine. Such changes may include hair growth on the face, a deeper voice, a significant increase in acne, an enlarged penis or clitoris, early development of pubic hair, an increase in erections or sexual desire, aggressive behavior, or bone problems.
- In some cases, this medicine may decrease the amount of sperm men make and affect their ability to have children. If you plan to have children, talk with your doctor before using this medicine.
- This medicine may cause fluid retention (edema) in some patients. Tell your doctor right away if you have bloating or swelling of face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet; tingling of hands or feet; or unusual weight gain or loss.
- This medicine 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.
- This medicine will not enhance athletic performance.
- The gel or solution is flammable until it dries on the skin. Do not smoke, and do not go near a fire or open flame until after the gel or solution has dried and you have covered the area with clothing.
- Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments. Blood levels may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
- This medicine may affect the results of the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test, which may be used to detect prostate cancer. Make sure you tell all of your doctors that you are using this medicine.
- Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect the results of certain medical tests.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
- Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
- Blood in the urine.
- Breathing problems, especially snoring or trouble breathing at night.
- Changes in skin color.
- Dark-colored urine or pale stools.
- Enlarged or painful breasts.
- Fast, slow, or pounding heartbeat.
- Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or pain in your upper stomach.
- Pain, swelling, or redness of your legs.
- Problems with urination, increase in how much or how often you urinate.
- Rapid weight gain.
- Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet.
- Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
- Acne or dry skin.
- Anxiety, depression, or memory problems.
- Changes in hair growth or color.
- Increased sweating.
- Numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands, arms, legs, or feet.
- Painful, prolonged erection of your penis.
- Problems having sex.
- Rash, redness, or skin irritation where you applied the medicine.
- Warmth or redness in your face, neck, arms, or upper chest.
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088
- Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013
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This page was last updated: September 18, 2013