Fortesta is a testosterone gel that is applied to the skin once a day. Because it comes in the form of a gel, it doesn't need to be metabolized by the liver, which means that significant amounts of the medication can be absorbed into the bloodstream. Common side effects of this medication include skin reactions, abnormal dreams, and increased prostate-specific antigen.
Brand-name Fortesta is made by Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
How Does It Work?
Fortesta 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 the entire 24-hour period. Fortesta helps increase testosterone to a normal level.
Fortesta is used as a gel, not taken by mouth, because it would have little effect on testosterone levels if taken orally. 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.
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 June 10, 2011.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005
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