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Androderm® is the product name for a patch or gel used to treat low levels of the hormone testosterone in men. It helps to ensure that male sexual organs work, grow, and develop properly. This includes the development of what are typically considered to be male characteristics, including a deep voice, facial hair, and a muscular build. The drug also treats some of the symptoms associated with low natural testosterone, including depression, excessive tiredness or lack of energy, and lower sexual drive. Doctors typically monitor a patient who is taking Androderm® by administering regular blood tests.
When absorbed through the skin from a patch, Androderm® supplies the body with a steady stream of testosterone. It is applied daily, usually in the evening, and left on the skin for 24 hours. If a patch falls off before midday, many doctors recommend applying another patch as quickly as possible. Otherwise, a typical prescription will advise waiting until evening to apply a new patch.
An Androderm® patch should be applied in a different part of the skin each night. Effective places to apply the patch include the stomach, back, upper arms, or thigh. The primary qualification for patch placement is that the patch has a surface where it will adhere well and stay flat on the skin. Portions of the skin that are hairy, oily, or receive a lot of pressure should be avoided.
The gel form of Androderm® is most effective when applied to the upper arms or shoulders. Once the gel is applied, it will need to dry for several minutes. After application, the portion of the body with the medication should be covered in order to avoid contaminating other people or animals.
The topical testosterone in Androderm® is only intended for use by men. Women who are pregnant should avoid contact with the drug due to a risk of birth defects. Androderm® can also be harmful to pets and children. For this reason, a patch must be discarded carefully when removed.
Androderm® may be risky for men who either have a family history or have personally had liver, heart, or kidney disease. Patients who have had diabetes or a blood disorder may also be poor candidates for the drug. A previous personal or family history of prostate or breast cancer may be problematic. All of these conditions should be reported to the prescribing doctor.
The less serious side effects of Androderm® include headache, acne, and tenderness or swelling in the breasts. There can also be discomfort at the site of the testosterone patch, including itching, burning, redness, or a hardening of the skin. More serious side effects include skin burns, irritation, or blistering at the site of the patch; excessive and prolonged erections; nause; and difficulty urinating.
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