Health Guide
Drug Guide

Androgen (Oral route, parenteral route, subcutaneous route, topical application route, transdermal route)

Brand Names:

Dosage Forms:

Uses of This Medicine:

Androgens are male hormones. Some androgens are naturally produced in the body and are necessary for the normal sexual development of males.

Androgens are used for several reasons, such as:

In addition, some of these medicines may be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Androgens are available only with your doctor's prescription.

Once a medicine has been approved for marketing for a certain use, experience may show that it is also useful for other medical problems. Although these uses are not included in product labeling, androgens are used in certain patients with the following medical conditions:

Before Using This Medicine:


Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to medicines in this group 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.


Androgens may cause children to stop growing. In addition, androgens may make male children develop too fast sexually and may cause male-like changes in female children

Older adults

When older male patients are treated with androgens, they may have an increased risk of enlarged prostate (a male gland) or their existing prostate cancer may get worse. For these reasons, a prostate examination and a blood test to check for prostate cancer is often done before androgens are prescribed for men over 50 years of age. These examinations may be repeated during treatment.


Androgens are not recommended during pregnancy. When given to pregnant women, the medicine has caused male features to develop in female babies.


Use is not recommended in nursing mothers, since androgens may pass into the breast milk and may cause unwanted effects in the nursing baby, such as premature (too early) sexual development in males and development of male features in female babies.

Other 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 any of these medicines, 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 medicines in this class with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with a medication in this class or change some of the other medicines you take.

Using medicines in this class 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.

Other interactions

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 medicines in this class. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

Proper Use of This Medicine:

Take this medicine only as directed. Do not take more of it and do not take it more often than your doctor ordered . Doing so may increase the chance of side effects.

There are two types of testosterone skin patches. The matrix-type is applied to skin of the scrotum. The reservoir-type is never applied to the skin of the scrotum. It is applied to other parts of the body. Be sure you know which type you are using so that you will apply it properly. These skin patches come with patient directions. Read them carefully before using the patch.

For patients taking fluoxymesterone or methyltestosterone:

For patients using the matrix-type skin patch of testosterone (Testoderm or Testoderm with Adhesives):

For patients using the reservoir-type skin patch of testosterone (Androderm or Testoderm TTS):


The dose medicines in this class 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 these medicines. 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.

Missed dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, 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.

If you forget to wear or change a patch, put one on as soon as you can. If it is almost time to put on your next patch, wait until then to apply a new patch and skip the one you missed. Do not apply extra patches to make up for a missed dose.

For topical dosage forms (patches): If you miss a dose of this medicine or your patch falls off within 12 hours after applying it and cannot be reapplied, skip the rest of the dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.


Keep out of the reach of children.

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Precautions While Using This Medicine:

Your doctor should check your progress at regular visits to make sure this medicine does not cause unwanted effects.

For patients with diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes):

For patients using the brand name Androgel:

Side Effects of This Medicine:

Discuss these possible effects with your doctor:

Tumors of the liver, liver cancer, or peliosis hepatis (a form of liver disease) have occurred during long-term, high-dose therapy with androgens. Although these effects are rare, they can be very serious and may cause death.

Androgens can stimulate existing prostate cancer in men who already have it but have not yet been diagnosed. Also, the prostate (a male gland) may become enlarged. Enlargement of the prostate does not mean that cancer will develop. If enlargement occurs and you have difficulty in urinating, it is a good idea to be checked by your doctor.

When androgens are used in women, especially in high doses, male-like changes may occur, such as hoarseness or deepening of the voice, unnatural hair growth, or unusual hair loss. Most of these changes will go away if the medicine is stopped as soon as the changes are noticed. However, some changes, such as voice changes or enlarged clitoris, may not go away.

When androgens are used in high doses in males, they interfere with the production of sperm. This effect is usually temporary and only happens during the time you are taking the medicine. However, discuss this possible effect with your doctor if you are planning on having children.

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:

More common
For females only
Acne or oily skin
decreased breast size
irregular menstrual cycles
hoarseness or deepening of voice
increase in size of female genitals
increase in unnatural hair growth or male pattern baldness

These symptoms may occur in females whose male sexual partner uses a scrotal patch.

For males only
Blistering of skin under patch (especially when the nonscrotal patch is applied to bony areas of the skin)
breast soreness or enlargement
frequent or continuing erection of penis lasting up to 4 hours or painful penile erections lasting longer than 4 hours
frequent urge to urinate
itching or redness of skin under patch (less likely with nonscrotal patch) or at site of implants, mild to severe
For prepubertal boys only
early growth of pubic hair
enlargement of penis
frequent or continuing erections
Less common
For males or females
frequent or continuing headache
lack or loss of strength
overall body flushing, redness, or itching of skin
rapidly changing moods, such as depersonalization, dysphoria, euphoria, depression, paranoia, and quick to react or overreact emotionally
swelling of feet or lower legs
unusual bleeding
unusual tiredness
yellow skin or eyes (occurring with fluoxymesterone or methyltestosterone more often than with testosterone)
For females with breast cancer or bedridden males or females in addition to the side effects listed above
Confusion or mental depression
increased thirst
increased urge to urinate or increased amount of urine
For males only
Black, tarry stools
burning sensation or hardening or thickening of skin under patch
continuing pain at site of implants
difficulty in urinating
itching, skin redness, or rash under patch, severe (less likely with nonscrotal patch)
pain in scrotum or groin
vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
For males or females more likely with oral androgens or long-term or high doses of androgens
Abdominal or stomach pain, continuing
bad breath odor, continuing
black, tarry or light-colored stools or dark urine
loss of appetite, continuing
mood or mental changes
purple or red spots on body or inside the mouth or nose
sore throat
swelling, pain, or tenderness of abdomen
vomiting of blood

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:

Less common
For males and females
Acne, mild
decrease or increase in sexual desire or drive
hair loss or thinning of hair
increase in pubic hair growth
infection, pain, redness, or other irritation at site of injection
stomach pain
trouble in sleeping
For males only
Decrease in testicle size
infection, pain, redness, swelling, sores, or other skin irritation underneath patch

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.

Last Updated: 10/12/2016

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