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Testosterone Gel

How Does Testosterone Gel Work?

Testosterone gel works as a hormone replacement therapy by increasing the testosterone levels in the body to a normal level.
This medicine is used as a gel 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.

When and How to Take This Medicine

Some general considerations for those using testosterone gel include the following:
  • The medication is a gel that is applied to the skin once daily. It comes in single-use tubes (Testim), single-use packets (AndroGel), or multi-use pumps (AndroGel and Fortesta).
  • Apply testosterone gel at the same time each day, preferably in the morning. Apply it to clean, dry, healthy skin on the shoulders or upper arms (for Testim) or the shoulders, upper arms, or abdomen (for AndroGel) or the front and inner thighs (for Fortesta). Do not apply this product to the genitals.
  • Make sure to wash your hands after applying the gel. Give the gel a few minutes to dry before you dress. Make sure to wait at least five or six hours before showering or swimming.
  • Make sure to cover the application site (once the gel is dry) with clothing to minimize contact with women or children. You should wash the area thoroughly before any skin-to-skin contact, such as sexual intercourse.
  • Until the gel dries, it is flammable. Stay away from open flame until the gel is dry.
  • Ideally, the application site should not be washed for two hours after applying the product, to give the medication a chance to be absorbed.
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. Do not increase your dose or take it more frequently than prescribed without your healthcare provider's approval.
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