Axiron is a testosterone product that is applied to the armpits. It is approved for use in men with low levels of testosterone due to various causes. Because it is applied to the skin, it does not need to be metabolized by the liver; this allows significant amounts of the drug to reach the bloodstream. Side effects may include headache, armpit irritation, and armpit redness.
Axiron contains the hormone testosterone in a liquid form that is applied to the armpits. It works by increasing testosterone to a normal level. Axiron is used on the skin, rather than 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 adequate blood levels of the medication usually 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):
Axiron [package insert]. Indianapolis, IN: Lilly USA, LLC;2010 November.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed January 6, 2011.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 8th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2008.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed December 7, 2010.
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