Men Home > Precautions and Warnings With the Testosterone Patch

If you have prostate cancer, breast cancer, or an enlarged prostate, let your healthcare provider know before using the testosterone patch. Warnings and precautions also include telling your healthcare provider about any allergies you might have, including to foods, dyes, or preservatives. Understanding the safety issues with this patch can help ensure a safe and effective treatment process.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider Before Using the Testosterone Patch?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to using the testosterone patch (Androderm®) if you have:
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medications you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Testosterone Patch Precautions and Warnings

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to using this patch include the following:
  • Like other testosterone medications, the testosterone patch may increase the risk for an enlarged prostate gland and stimulate the growth of prostate cancer cells. Your healthcare provider may evaluate you for prostate cancer before you start using this patch and periodically during treatment.
  • You should know that this medication might cause breast enlargement in men.
  • The testosterone patch can cause virilization (the development of male characteristics) in women. Transfer of testosterone (the active ingredient in the testosterone patch) to a female partner or child is unlikely, because the back of the patch contains a special occlusive film. However, it is important to report the development of male characteristics, such as changes in hair distribution, significant acne, or voice deepening.
  • There have been reports of skin burns in people who wore patches similar to the testosterone patch during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Talk to your healthcare provider before any MRI procedure. You may need to remove your patch.
  • Skin irritations, including severe skin burns and blisters, have been reported with use of this product. Placing the patch on bony parts of the body, or areas that may be subject to prolonged pressure during sleeping or sitting, appears to increase the risk for burns.

Mild skin irritation may be treated with hydrocortisone cream. If your skin irritation is more bothersome, your healthcare provide may prescribe triamcinolone 0.1% cream. Ointments should not be used.

  • Drugs similar to the testosterone patch have been reported to cause potentially serious liver problems, including liver cancer. Although this patch is not known to produce these problems, all potential risks cannot be ruled out.
  • The testosterone patch may increase the number of red blood cells in your blood, which can cause blood clots and increase the risk for other serious problems, such as heart attacks and strokes. Your healthcare provider will do periodic blood tests to monitor your red blood cells.
  • The testosterone patch may cause fluid retention (edema), especially in people with underlying heart, kidney, or liver disease. If you develop edema while using this patch, you may need to stop using the testosterone patch. Your healthcare provider may also need to give you medicine to help remove the extra fluid from your body.
  • Your healthcare provider will need to do periodic blood tests, to check your liver function, cholesterol, and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level during treatment. Make sure to keep all of your healthcare appointments.
  • The testosterone patch is a pregnancy Category X medication. This means it is not safe for use during pregnancy (see Androderm and Pregnancy).
  • It is unknown if this medicine passes through breast milk. If you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to using the patch (see Androderm and Breastfeeding).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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