Androgen

Androgen is a well-known male hormone therapy prescribed for a number of conditions, particularly male puberty, breast cancer, and male infertility.

Overview

Scientists discovered long ago that Androgen is necessary for the normal sexual development of males, particularly prepubescent boys. Though both males and females produce Androgen naturally, it is more prevalent in males.

During puberty, Androgen production can be described as being in a state of overdrive.

Males who suffer from Androgen deficiency, however, can now get help through medical interventions using synthetically produced Androgen.

Moreover, medical providers may authorize the use of Androgen for certain types of breast cancers in women as well as infertility in adult males.

The main reasons doctors prescribe Androgen include:

  • Replacement Hormone Therapy – It is used as a substitute when the male body cannot product Androgen independently.
  • A Stimulant for Puberty – Androgen is sometimes used to jumpstart puberty in late bloomers (boys who experience delays in natural-occurring puberty).
  • Female Breast Cancer Drug – Androgen is also used to treat female breast cancer.

Androgen is not available for over-the-counter purchase at this time. A board-certified professional has to write the order for patients to pick up Androgen at a pharmacy.

Currently, there are a number of ways that Androgen is administered. A doctor may prescribe one or more of the following routes of Androgen:

  • Capsule – taken orally by mouth, a capsule could be liquid filled or have an extended release feature
  • Cream – In tubes that can be rubbed onto the skin
  • Extended Release Patches – It is placed on the skin, for instance
  • Gel or Jelly – Used Topically
  • Implant – a medical worker has to complete this minor procedure
  • Kit – a comprehensive set of supplies with specific directives for use
  • Tablet – similar to capsules, these are taken orally by mouth. Some extended-release versions are available.

Domestic Brands of Androgen

Androgen goes by a number of U.S. brand names including:

  • Anadrol-50
  • Androderm
  • Androgel
  • Android
  • Androxy
  • Axiron
  • Danocrine
  • DHEA
  • First-Testosterone
  • First-Testosterone MC
  • Fortesta
  • Methitest
  • Teslac
  • Testopel Pellets
  • Testred
  • Vogelxo

Foreign Brands of Androgen

In Canada, doctors may prescribe Andriol or Androplex.

Male Puberty

Today, a number of teenagers may experience delays in puberty. These teens are colloquially called “late bloomers”. Sometimes, however, doctors may decide to intervene when the patient in question has serious deferrals in puberty. During this transition, Androgen levels typically go into overdrive and ultimately contribute to normal sexual maturity.

What does this mean?

It simply means that the lack or non-production of Androgens could ultimately affect a teenager’s fertility in adulthood. If insufficient levels of Androgen are not generated naturally in the body, this could lead to the failure to activate sperms.

Androgens moreover contribute to the development of certain secondary sexual traits, including:

  • Adam’s Apple
  • Broad Shoulders
  • Deepening of the Voice
  • Enlarged Penis
  • Hair
  • Muscle Mass
  • Sex Drive

Condition(s) Treated

  • Androgen Deficiency
  • Delayed Puberty
  • Male Impotence
  • Testosterone Replacement
  • Breast Cancer
  • Anemia, and Osteoporosis.

Type of Medicine

  • Male Hormones
  • Testosterone
  • Hormone Therapy, or Steroid.

Side Effects

Like all medications, Androgen carries the risk of side effects, ranging from mild to severe. Your doctor will weigh the risks of taking any medicine, including Androgen, before writing a prescription.

Rare Side Effects

In patients that have taken Androgen for a prolonged period of time and in very high doses, there have been rare instances where these circumstances have caused life-threatening ailments, such as liver tumor, liver cancer, or peliosis hepatis.

A Breakdown of Common Androgen Side Effects

The following section lists some of the most common side effects when taking Androgen. Not every unwanted side effect will transpire, but if you experience any of the following symptoms, be sure to consult your medical care provider right away:

Common Side Effects in Adult Females

  • Abnormal Menstrual Cycles
  • Breast Reduction
  • Changes in the Voice
  • Enlarged Clitoris
  • Hairy Overgrowth
  • Male-Like Baldness
  • Skin Breakout

Common Side Effects in Adult Males

  • Breast Tenderness or Enlargement
  • Frequent Urination
  • Longer and Painful Erections
  • Skin Irritation and Redness Under Patches

Common Side Effects in Pre-Adolescent Males

  • Skin Issues Such As Acne
  • Premature Pubic Hair
  • Penis Enlargement
  • Recurrent and Lasting Erections

A Breakdown of Less Common Androgen Side Effects (Applies to Both Males and Females)

When taking Androgen, patients, including males and females, may also experience less common side effects, such as:

  • Abnormal Bleeding
  • Body Flushing
  • Edema or Swollen Legs and Feet
  • Hair Thinning
  • Insomnia and Nervousness
  • Lightheadedness and Dizziness
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Paranoia, Depression, and Euphoria
  • Skin Irritation and Redness
  • Sudden Mood Swings
  • Unrelenting Headaches
  • Weakness or Lethargy
  • Yellowing of the Skin (Particularly in Fluoxymesterone or Methyltestosterone Cases)

Less Common Symptoms – With Underlying Conditions

Women who have breast cancer and patients that are immobile may also experience the following side effects when taking Androgen:

  • A State of Confusion
  • Amplified Urine Production
  • Dehydration
  • Depression

Less Common Symptoms in Males

Men who take Androgens will sometimes experience the following side effects:

  • Dark Stools
  • Skin Burning (Especially With Patches)
  • Body Chills
  • Unrelenting Aches and Pains (At the Implant Site)
  • Trouble Passing Urine
  • Itchiness and Skin Irritation
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Pain in the Scrotum (for Scrotal Patches)

Rare Side Effects of Androgen

The rare side effects discussed below are more probable in patients who take this drug orally (by capsule or tablets), or in cases where it is prescribed in high doses or for a prolonged period of time. These rare side effects may occur in both males and females:

  • Stomach Pain
  • Spots in the Mouth, Sore Throat, and Bad Breath
  • Changes in the Color of Stool or Urine
  • Fever, Rashes, and Hives
  • Appetite Loss
  • Mood Swings

Other Possible Side Effects:

Enlarged Prostate – It has been well-documented that Androgen could cause an enlarged prostate, but not necessarily cancer. One of the telltale signs of an enlarged prostate is patients having trouble urinating. If this happens during the course of taking Androgen, or at any other time, consult your doctor.

Triggering Prostate Cancer – In men with early-stage prostate cancer and those who have not been diagnosed by a medical doctor, the use of Androgen could exacerbate the condition.

Female Bodily Changes – Another reported side effect of Androgen in women, specifically adult females who were prescribed elevated doses is the unwanted development of male characteristics. Some examples include the overgrowth or undergrowth of facial hair, and coarseness, roughness or deepening of the voice. For the most part, these side effects go away as soon as patients notice symptoms and cease use. Some symptoms are permanent, however, including changes in the voice and a distended clitoris.

Male Bodily Changes – For men who take Androgen in elevated doses, the side effects vary. Nevertheless, the most commonly reported ones include the disruption of sperm count. The effect is not permanent, but Androgen makers recommend telling your doctor if you plan on having children in the near future.

A doctor is the best person to get the most accurate answers about Androgen’s side effects.

At times, the side effects decrease over time as the body becomes used to the medicine. If your symptoms persist, speak to your healthcare provider for advice. Your doctor knows the best practices for avoiding or reducing certain side effects.

Precautions

To ensure that Androgen is working the way it should, doctors will monitor patients’ progress on a regular basis. Another reason for regular check-ups include screenings for side effects, especially in patients with certain medical conditions.

Patients who have been diagnosed with diabetes, high cholesterol, or kidney, liver, or heart disease, for example, will undergo more frequent routine screenings for safe measure.

Dosage

Androgen prescriptions are tailored for each patient. No one patient should exchange medications with another for this very reason.

The following guide provides a prototype of recommended dosages based on the Androgen route of administration. The guide in no way reflects the right dose for you. It is important to take your medicine exactly as prescribed – unless your doctor makes changes.

Before diving in, let’s explore what affects Androgen dosage. Typically, this is influenced by the:

  1. Medication Strength
  2. Number of Doses per Day
  3. The Allotted Intervals Between Doses
  4. Underlying Medical Problems
  5. The Length of Time Needed

Doctors will weigh all of these factors to write the correct dosage.

Standard Dosages

Androgens, Oral Routes

There are two main types of oral routes (tablets and capsules) and these include fluoxymesterone and methyltestosterone.

Fluoxymesterone Doses

Prescribed as tablets, the dosage varies by the condition and patient criteria:

  • Adult Male Androgen Hormone Replacement: 5 mg. | 4X per Day
  • Adult Female Breast Cancer: 10 mg. – 30 mg. | Distributed in a 24-Hour Period
  • Postponed Sexual Development in Boys: 2.5 mg. to 10 mg. | per Day (4-6 months)

Methyltestosterone Doses

Prescribed as tablets or capsules, like Fluoxymesterone, the dosage varies based on the underlying condition that needs to be treated and the patient’s age:

  • Adult Male Androgen Hormone Replacement: 10 mg. – 50 mg | per Day
  • Adult Female Breast Cancer: 50 mg. | 1-4X per Day (Standard Decrease to 50 mg. 2X daily after 4-6 weeks)
  • Postponed Sexual Development in Boys: 5 mg. to 35 mg. | per Day (4-6 months)

Standard Testosterone Dosages

Testosterone can be administered in a variety of ways and we’ll explore the different types of routes and corresponding dosages below:

Injections (Into a Muscle)

  • Adult Male Androgen Hormone Replacement: 25 mg. to 50 mg. | 2-3X per Week
  • Adult Female Breast Cancer: 50 mg. – 100 mg. | 3X per Week
  • Postponed Sexual Development in Boys: Up to 100 mg. | 1X per Month (4-6 Months)

Implants (Subcutaneous Dosage)

  • Adult Male Androgen Hormone Replacement: 150 mg. to 450 mg. | 2-6 Implants in the Skin Every 3-6 Months
  • Postponed Sexual Development in Boys: Varies by Patient

Topical Testosterone Gels

This guide aims to narrow down the main facts about the drug Androgen. The dosage below focuses on a common topical testosterone – AndroGel 1% testosterone gel. Nevertheless, there are many other variations and dosages of topical testosterone gel.

AndroGel’s standard doses include:

Adults: 5 gm. | 1X per Day in the Morning

Children: Varies by Patient

Note: AndroGel is produced, in part, with alcohol – a highly flammable ingredient. Wait until the gel is completely dry before going near fire and smoke.

Exploring Dosages of Androgen Patches

Testoderm or Testoderm with Adhesives (Matrix Type Patches)

Adults: 4 mg or 6 mg (one patch) | 1X per Day in the Morning and Directly on the Scrotum (Requires 22 Hours of Use in a 24-Hour Period for the Best Effect)

Children: Varies by Patient

Androderm (Reservoir Type Patches)

Adults: 2.5 mg or 7.5 mg (1-3 patches) | 1X per Day at Bedtime and Directly on the Abs, Back, Thighs, or Upper Arms (Requires 24 Hours of Use).

Children 15 and Older: 2.5 mg or 7.5 mg (1-3 patches) | 1X per Day at Bedtime and Directly Applied to the Abs, Back, Thighs, or Upper Arms (Requires 24 Hours of Use)

Children Under 15: Varies by Patient

Testoderm TTS (Reservoir-Type Patches)

Adults: 5 mg. (one patch) | 1X per Day in the Morning and Directly Applied to the Arms, Back, Or Upper Buttocks. (Requires 22 Hours of Use in a 24-Hour Period for the Best Effect).

Children Under 18: Varies by Patient

Standard Testosterone Cypionate or Testosterone Enanthate Dosage – Injections (Into a Muscle)

  • Adult Male Androgen Hormone Replacement: 50 mg. to 400 mg. | Every 2-4 Weeks
  • Adult Female Breast Cancer: 200 mg. – 400 mg. | Every 2-4 Weeks
  • Postponed Sexual Development in Boys: Up to 100 mg. | 1X per Month (4-6 Months)

Standard Testosterone Propionate Dosage – Injections (Into a Muscle)

  • Adult Male Androgen Hormone Replacement: 25 mg. to 50 mg. | 2-3X per Week
  • Adult Female Breast Cancer: 50 mg. – 100 mg. | 3X per Week
  • Postponed Sexual Development in Boys: Up to 100 mg. | 1X per Month (4-6 Months)

Standard Testosterone Undecanoate Dosage – Oral Capsules

  • Adult Male Androgen Hormone Replacement: 120 mg. to 160 mg. | Divided 2X per Day (2-3 Weeks) ***Take with Meals

After the initial 2-3 Weeks of Treatment. The Dose Is Typically Lowered to 40 mg. from 120 mg. | Divided 2X per Day (2-3 Weeks) ***Take with Meals

When taking Androgen for weeks or months, be sure to confirm the instructions with your doctor or pharmacist to ensure the right dosage for maximum effectiveness.

What to Do if You Miss a Dose

If you forget to take Androgen, be sure to resume the prescription as soon as you remember. If the other dosage time is close, do not double the medicine. Skip it altogether and get back on track by taking the next scheduled quantity, then continue with the regular dosage.

This applies to all routes of Androgen, including when taking the medicine orally, by topical use, or when applying patches. If you are uncertain of what to do if you miss a dose, contact your pharmacist or medical provider.

How to Use Androgen the Right Way

It is very important for patients to use Androgen as directed by a medical worker or pharmacist in order to reduce the risk of side effects. This means that the right dose should be used at the correct intervals.

Specific Instructions for Androgen Skin Patches

Currently, the medical industry manufactures two varieties of Androgen skin patches, otherwise known as “testosterone skin patches”.

These two types of testosterone skin patches are discussed in detail below.

  1. Matrix Androgen Skin Patches

These are placed directly applied to the skin near the scrotum. Matrix classes of testosterone patches, also known as “Testoderm” comes with or without adhesives. In order for this patch to work effectively and for it to be passed on easily through the body, it must be placed on the scrotum area.

  1. Reservoir Androgen Skin Patches

Can be applied to any skin area, except near the scrotum. Reservoir testosterone skin patches are labeled as Androderm or Testoderm TTS. These are predominantly applied to areas like the abs, inner thighs and arms, or the back. It is not recommended that these patches be placed in heavily used areas of the body, such as the elbows or hips, as they could possibly fall off during sleeping or waking activities.

Doctors suggest alternating placement and not sticking to any one area – outside the scrotum. Each new application should never be reapplied to the same area within a 7-day period.

Case Scenario

If you place the patch on your back on Sunday, you would have to make new applications elsewhere on the body during the 7-day window. A chart can help you keep track by outlining the days of the week and areas of the body the patch was placed.

More Suggestions for Patch Use

Some go-to tips for applying any type of Androgen testosterone patch include washing hands properly to prevent infections. The application area must also be clean and dry before use. Adolescents and adults who need to shave should dry shave only without soap and water to keep the prescription in place.

The best way to apply the patch to the scrotum is while sitting or standing with the legs apart. Other suggestions include wearing tightfitting briefs vs. boxers to help keep the patch in place. The patch should also be removed for certain activities, such as swimming, bathing, or sex.

Specific instructions regarding application and removal can be found on the prescription package. If unsure, ask your doctor or pharmacist for help.

Patients that are taking fluoxymesterone or methyltestosterone should consume a full meal before taking the patch, as an upset stomach is a commonly reported symptom when taking these subsets of Androgen. Meals help to lower the risks.

Interactions

Patients who take any type of Simvastatin should inform their medical provider, as this class of drugs has been studied to cause significant negative interactions. Simvastatin is a type of cholesterol-lowering medication and some examples of drug names that may be prescribed in this class include:

  • Acenocoumarol
  • Anisindione
  • Atorvastatin
  • Bupropion
  • Dasabuvir
  • Dicumarol
  • Fluvastatin
  • Lovastatin
  • Paclitaxel
  • Paclitaxel Protein-Bound
  • Phenindione
  • Phenprocoumon
  • Warfarin

At times, a doctor may find it necessary to prescribe Androgen with other medications proven to cause negative interactions with the drug. In such cases, the standard dosages of Androgen may be altered for the patient’s safety.

Dietary and Lifestyle Drug Interactions with Androgen

In general, it is important to advise your doctor of any alcohol, tobacco, or food products used on a regular basis. Consuming these products before, during, or directly after taking any type of medicine could pose some risks of negative interactions. Based on the drug Androgen and certain dietary or lifestyle habits discussed, the medical worker usually makes the most appropriate recommendations for use.

Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

Certain pre-existing medical conditions could affect the way Androgen works or vice versa, meaning taking Androgen when diagnosed with certain conditions could worsen the diagnosis. As a result, you should tell your medical worker your full medical history, and in particular, if you have or have had:

  • Diabetes – The drug could fluctuate blood sugar levels, and as such, frequent monitoring is required for low to high blood sugar. Instructions will moreover be given by doctors and pharmacists telling patients what to do in cases of too high or too low blood sugar readings.
  • Edema – Androgen may cause the hands, face, feet, legs, and other areas of the boy to swell.
  • Female Cancer – Androgen could cause calcium level readings in bloodwork to be higher than normal.
  • Heart Disease – Androgen could potentially increase cholesterol levels. Inform your medical care worker if you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol.
  • Kidney or Liver Diseases – Androgen may exacerbate these conditions since a common side effect when taking the drug is fluid retention. Moreover, liver disease could cause complications when taking Androgen as the natural removal of waste is compromised.
  • Male Breast or Prostate Cancer – Androgen could fuel the growth of tumors. It could also cause certain demographic groups to have an enlarged prostate, especially seniors. Read more below about the warnings when taking Androgen.

Warnings

Whichever route of Androgen is prescribed to patients, there are certain warnings that must be heeded. Here are the most commonly outlined notices for the drug Androgen:

  • Tell Your Doctor if You Have Allergies – Adult patients and parents of children who have been prescribed Androgen should inform their medical worker of any past incidences of allergies concerning this or any other types of drugs. Specifically, it is essential that you tell your primary care provider of any allergic reactions to any preservatives, animal products or byproducts, foods, or dyes, as Androgen may contain these substances.
  • Stunted Growth in Minors – While it may seem counterproductive, it is important for parents to understand that Androgen may result in stunted growth. On the other hand, this drug could cause sexual development to go into overdrive. Moreover, there have been recorded incidences of female children taking Androgen, which ended in the child acquiring masculine traits.
  • Oversized Prostates in Seniors – Elder males that are prescribed Androgen are at a heightened risk of developing an enlarged prostate. To mitigate risks, the medical provider typically performs a prostate exam and a blood screening for prostate cancer before Androgen is administered. This is also the standard of care for prescribing Androgen in men that are more than 50 years of age. Following the prescription of Androgen in seniors, medical workers keep a close eye on patients and monitor or retake prostate cancer tests for safe measure.
  • Not Recommended for Gestation – Gestating mothers are not usually given Androgen, as the drug has been proven to sometimes cause male characteristics to develop in female fetuses. Also, breastfeeding mothers should not take the drug Androgen. The medication usually seeps into breast milk. Consequently, male infants may experience expedited sexual growth, and female babies could possibly develop certain male traits.

Storage

The best way to store Androgen is out of the reach of minors and pets. Keep in a high or locked location that is inaccessible to children and family pets. One common method for storage is using a closed container.

Make sure the container used is placed in a cool area and away from areas that commonly experience heat, moisture, or light – such as the kitchen or bathroom, for example. These extremes could compromise the integrity of the medicine and affect how it works.

Disposal of Patches

An Androgen prescription that has been discontinued by a medical professional should be disposed of properly – and right away. Remember, this particular class of drug could affect bodily functions and cause unwanted changes in children, adults, and pets.

When a testosterone or Androgen patch cannot be used any longer, the best way to dispose of the product is to fold it in half. The sticky sides should meet. After folding, replace the used patch in the protective envelope. If this was discarded during the initial application, aluminum foil paper can be used as a substitute.

Very Important: Do not discard Androgen patches in areas or containers that are accessible to children and pets. Ask your medical provider for help if you want to dispose of the medicine in a way that does not cause harm to those around you.

Summary

Androgen can be a naturally occurring or synthetically produced male testosterone. The hormone’s main function is to govern the normal growth and function of male traits.

As a result, Androgen is primarily used for the treatment of teenage boys experiencing delays in puberty.

Medical workers may prescribe Androgen to jumpstart the process and to support the normal development of male sexual organs and secondary male sex traits. A few examples include the facial and pubic hair, muscle growth, and the deepening of the voice.

However, Androgen serves a number of purposes and may also be used for other medical conditions in adults, such as breast cancer in females. Moreover, Androgen is commonly used to treat male infertility via hormone replacement therapies.

Doctors modify doses and administration methods based on a custom plan for each patient. Androgen may be administered via a patch, injection, topical gel, or capsules and tablets.

There are certain precautions that must be weighed when taking Androgen, as this drug could cause unwanted side effects such as premature growth in teens. Adult females too may experience the adaptation of male traits when taking high doses of Androgen for a long stretch of time.

Due to these unwanted side effects described above, it is important to keep the medication away from non-users to avoid secondary exposure.

Certain conditions may furthermore be exacerbated by the use of Androgen, including prostate cancer. As a result, it’s important to disclose your full medical history to your healthcare provider before taking any variation of this drug. Seek medical attention if you experience prolonged symptoms.

Generally, synthetic Androgen has been proven to be an effective substitute for patients that have a naturally occurring or persistent Androgen deficiency. If you believe you or your child needs help, talk to a provider to discuss if Androgen is right for you.

Resources
Last Reviewed:
December 22, 2017
Last Updated:
February 09, 2018
Content Source: