Testosterone (On the skin)

Testosterone (tes-TOS-ter-one)

Treats low testosterone levels. Testosterone is a male hormone.

Brand Name(s):

AndroGel, Axiron, Fortesta, Testim, Vogelxo

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. Do not use it if you had an allergic reaction to testosterone, or if you have breast cancer or prostate cancer.

How to Use This Medicine:

Gel/Jelly, Kit, Liquid

  • Take your medicine as directed. Your dose may need to be changed several times to find what works best for you.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Ask your pharmacist for a copy if you do not have one.
  • Apply this medicine at the same time every day in the morning, unless your doctor tells you differently.
  • Apply the medicine to clean, dry, intact skin. Do not apply to skin that has a cut, scrape, or other injury.
  • Follow the manufacturer's directions on how to prime the pump before you use it the first time. Do not use the medicine that comes out during priming. Rinse it down the drain.
  • Gel:
    • Apply the gel only to your shoulders, upper arms, or thighs. Do not apply this medicine to your scrotum or penis.
    • Allow the gel to dry before you cover the area with clothing. Wait for at least 2 to 5 hours after you apply this medicine before you shower or swim.
  • Children and women should avoid contact with the unwashed or unclothed area where the testosterone gel has been applied. If another person accidentally gets this medicine on his or her skin, wash the area with soap and water right away.
  • Solution:
    • This medicine comes in 2 forms: a pump actuated metered dose bottle and a twist actuated metered dose bottle.
    • Apply an antiperspirant or deodorant spray at least 2 minutes before you apply this medicine.
    • Use an applicator to apply the solution to clean and dry underarms. Do not apply this medicine to any other part of your body.
    • Wipe any medicine that drips or runs with an applicator. Do not rub the solution with your fingers or hand.
    • Rinse the applicator cup with water and pat it dry with a tissue. Put the cup and cap back onto the pump actuated metered dose bottle. Put the lid back on the twist actuated metered dose bottle.
    • Allow the solution to dry for at least 3 minutes before you cover the area with clothing. Do not shower or swim for at least 2 hours.
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water after you use this medicine.
  • If any medicine gets in your eyes, rinse them right away with water and call your doctor. Do not drink this medicine.
  • The medicine is flammable until it dries on the skin. Do not smoke or go near an open flame until the gel or solution has dried and you have covered the area with clothing.
  • Missed dose: Apply a dose as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and apply a regular dose. Do not apply extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Keep the medicine in a safe place. Do not give it to anyone else, even if you have the same symptoms.
  • Throw away the empty pump, tube, or packet in a place where children and pets cannot reach it.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Some medicines can affect how testosterone works. Tell your doctor if you are using any of the following:
    • Insulin, oxyphenbutazone
    • Blood thinner (including warfarin)
    • Steroid medicine (including dexamethasone, hydrocortisone, methylprednisolone, prednisolone, prednisone)

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Tell your doctor if you have kidney disease, liver disease, heart disease, lung disease, blood clotting problems, diabetes, an enlarged prostate, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, or a history of heart attack or stroke.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • Increased risk of prostate cancer
    • Blood clot in your leg or lung
    • Possible increased risk of heart attack or stroke
    • Lower sperm count
    • Liver problems
  • This medicine can be habit-forming. Do not use more than your prescribed dose. Call your doctor if you think your medicine is not working.
  • Tell any doctor or dentist who treats you that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect certain medical test results.
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

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
  • Changes in how much or how often you urinate, trouble urinating
  • Chest pain that may spread, trouble breathing, coughing up blood, unusual sweating, faintness
  • Dark urine or pale stools, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pain, yellow skin or eyes
  • Pain, redness, or swelling in your arm or leg
  • Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • More erections than usual or erections that last a long time
  • Swollen breasts

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 Updated: 11/6/2020

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