1 What is Androgel?

Brand: Androgel, Axiron, First-Testosterone, First-Testosterone MC, Fortesta, Testim, Vogelxo

Generic: Testosterone (Topical Route)

Testosterone topical gel is generally used in males with testosterone deficiency. This medicine has been marketed for once daily application which has become the preferred method of androgen replacement for hypogonadism and impotence. Indeed, testosterone is the main male hormone that is responsible for the growth and development of the male sex organs and maintenance of secondary sex characteristics.

This medicine is available in following dosage forms only with your doctor's prescription.

  • Gel/Jelly
  • Kit
  • Solution
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2 What to Know Before Using

If you are about to start a drug therapy, the risk-benefit ratio of taking the drug should be considered carefully. The suitable drug therapy is chosen with active participation of both the doctor and the patient. There are some important factors such as drug interactions, metabolic impairment, hypersensitivity reaction, pregnancy, lactation etc. which may alter the desired therapeutic effects of such medications.

Sometimes the presence of other health disorders affects the beneficial effects of this medicine and even may cause serious toxic effects. If you have had any allergic reactions to any medicine then you must inform your doctor about that. The use of such medications is contraindicated in carcinoma of prostate and male breast, liver and kidney disease and during pregnancy (masculinization of female fetus).

Further, this drug should not be given to men aged over 65 years, and to those with coronary artery disease or congestive heart failure (CHF). In addition, this drug therapy can worsen sleep apnea, migraine and epilepsy.

Certain drugs should not be used concurrently with medicine. It is always recommended to consult with your doctor if you are in need of some other medications or even any over-the-counter medicine for another health problem in order to avoid unwanted toxic effects.

Using such medications with any of the following drugs is not recommended:

  • Acenocoumarol
  • Simvastatin
  • Atorvastatin
  • Lovastatin
  • Fluvastatin
  • Dicumarol
  • Phenindione
  • Warfarin

3 Proper Usage

You should use this medicine following the directions given by your doctor. The dosage schedule and the duration of drug therapy depend on the particular medical problem for which you are using this medicine. The therapeutic dose may also vary with patient’s condition or requirement. Usually 5-10 g is applied over non-scrotal skin once daily preferably in the morning. This gel formulation has become the preferred method of androgen replacement for hypogonadism and impotence.

Before and after applying such medicine, you must wash your hands with soap and water. This gel should be used over a clean, dry area of the skin on your back, abdomen or stomach, thighs, or upper arm. In addition, you must not apply this gel over burns, cuts, or irritated skin. However, you should follow your doctor’s instructions and advices while you are using this medicine.

If you miss any dose of this medicine, you should take it as soon as possible. But if it is time for your next dose, then you should skip the missed dose and go back to your regular treatment schedule.

Further, it is advised to store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature away from heat, moisture, and direct light. All kinds of medicines should be kept out of the reach of children. However, outdated medicines should be disposed by an appropriate way.

4 Precautions to Take

Firstly, regular visits to your doctor are recommended to check that this medicine is working properly or not. In case of pregnant women, the use of such medications is not safe because of masculinization of female fetus. Further, the lactating mothers should not use these drugs, since androgens may pass through the breast milk and may cause premature sexual development in male babies and development of male features in female babies.

In addition, when this drug is used by the patients with diabetes mellitus, the blood sugar levels should be investigated at frequent intervals.

If any change in the blood and/or urine sugar tests is noticed, you should check with your doctor immediately.

Further, you should apply the gel 5 to 6 hours before having a bath.

5 Potential Side Effects

There are some unwanted side effects associated with each drug that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects usually go away during the treatment episode as your body adjusts to the medicine. Your healthcare professional may advise you about the ways how to prevent or reduce those unwanted side effects.

Sometimes you may need to consult with the doctor if you notice any of the following toxic effects:

  • Acne may occur in both males and females. Virilization, excess body hair and menstrual irregularities may occur in women.
  • Frequent, sustained and often painful erections in males in the beginning of therapy; subside spontaneously after sometime.
  • Oligozoospermia can occur with moderate doses given for a few weeks to men with normal testosterone levels.
  • Precocious puberty, premature sexual behavior, and stunting of stature due to early closure of epiphysis –if testosterone is given continuously to young boys for increasing stature.
  • Gynaecomastia may occur, especially in children and in patients with liver disease. This is due to peripheral conversion of testosterone to estrogens.
  • Salt retention and edema occur especially when large doses are used in patients with heart and kidney disease. It is rare with the doses used for hypogonadism.
  • Prolonged use may produce testicular atrophy. Besides, many effects, e.g. voice change may be permanent after long-term therapy.

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