AndroGel is a prescription steroid used for treating low testosterone levels in men. This medication contains testosterone in a special gel that is applied to the skin just once a day. Over a 24-hour period, AndroGel can increase testosterone levels back to normal. Although most people tolerate the medication well, side effects are possible and may include acne, prostate problems, and breast development.
AndroGel contains the hormone testosterone in a special gel that is applied to the skin just once a day. The gel dries on the skin, and testosterone is absorbed into the bloodstream throughout a 24-hour period. AndroGel helps increase testosterone to a normal level.
AndroGel is used as a gel (not taken by mouth) because it would have little effect on testosterone levels if taken by mouth. When medications are taken by mouth, they must first pass through the liver before they reach the bloodstream. The liver metabolizes testosterone extensively before it has a chance to reach the bloodstream, and significant blood levels of the medication cannot be achieved.
However, when testosterone is applied to the skin, it bypasses the liver, allowing significant amounts of the hormone to reach the bloodstream.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
AndroGel [package insert]. North Chicago, IL: AbbVie, Inc.;2013 May.
AndroGel 1.62% [package insert]. North Chicago, IL: Abbott Laboratories;2011 April.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Testosterone gel safety information (5/7/2009). FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/drug/infopage/testosterone_gel/default.htm. Accessed May 15, 2009, 2009.
Par Pharmaceutical. Par Pharmaceutical announces agreement with Unimed Pharmaceuticals to settle AndroGel® patent litigation (9/13/2006). Par Pharmaceutical Web site. Available at: http://www.parpharm.com/media/NR_20060913.jsp. Accessed September 18, 2008.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
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