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You are here : 3-RX.com > Drugs & Medications > Quick Drug Information (DrugNotes) > Testosterone (Topical)

Testosterone (On The Skin)

Testosterone (tes-TOS-te-rone)

Treats a lack of testosterone when your body does not produce enough of its own natural testosterone. Testosterone is a male hormone.

Brand Name(s):

Androgel, Testim
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 or if you have breast cancer or prostate cancer. Testosterone gel should be used only 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:


  • 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.
  • AndroGel™ should come with an information brochure. Read this information carefully.
  • Each dose of AndroGel™ comes in an aluminum-foil packet. Open one packet for each dose. As soon as you open the packet, squeeze the gel into the palm of your hand. Be sure to use all of the gel inside the packet.
  • Apply the gel to clean, dry skin on the shoulders, upper arms, or abdomen (unless your doctor tells you to use it on another part of your body). Do not use on the genital area. Do not use 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 clothes.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after using this medicine.
  • Throw away the empty foil packet in a place where children and pets cannot reach it.
  • Wait at least 5 to 6 hours after applying this medicine before you shower or swim.

If a dose is missed:

  • Apply your medicine as soon as possible unless it is almost time for your next dose.
  • Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next regular dose.
  • Do not apply two doses at the same time.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store at room temperature in a closed container, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Keep this and all medicine out of the reach of children.
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, phenylbutazone (Butazolidin®), oxyphenbutazone (Tandearil®), propranolol (Inderal®), or corticosteroids (cortisone-type medicines).
Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you have an enlarged prostate, sleep apnea, diabetes, or heart, kidney, liver, or lung disease.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you have any blood relatives who have had prostate cancer.
  • Other types of testosterone given in high doses have been known to cause liver problems. Be sure to discuss this with your doctor.
  • 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 immediately with soap and water after applying the medicine. Also, cover the skin where you applied the medicine with clothing after the gel has dried.
  • If another person does accidentally get this medicine on the skin, wash the area with soap and water as soon as possible.
  • Tell your doctor if your female partner starts to have male-like changes such as hair growth on her face or a significant increase in acne.
  • Talk with your doctor if your sexual partner is pregnant.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Bloating or swelling of face, hands, lower legs, and/or feet
  • Breathing problems, including increased snoring or trouble breathing while asleep
  • Nausea, vomiting, or changes in skin color
  • Trouble urinating or an increase in how often you have to urinate
  • Yellow eyes or skin

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

  • Acne
  • Enlarged breasts
  • Erections that happen too often or that last too long
  • Rash or skin irritation where you apply the medicine
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor.

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