Brand names: Testosterone Patches, Androderm, Testoderm
These patches are prescribed for men with low levels of the male hormone, testosterone. Lack of testosterone can lead to declining interest in sex, impotence, fatigue, depression, and loss of masculine characteristics.
If you have prostate problems, make sure your doctor is aware of them. Supplementary testosterone may increase the risk of prostate cancer.
The patches deliver steady doses of testosterone through the skin.
Testoderm patches are applied daily to the skin of the scrotum. They should not be applied elsewhere. Scrotal skin is much thinner than other skin, so you will not get the full dosage if you apply the patch to another part of the body.
For best results, the scrotal skin should be shaved, clean, and dry. Dry-shave the skin; avoid wet-shaving or chemical hair-removal products. The patch should be worn for 22 to 24 hours per day, every day for up to 8 weeks.
Androderm patches are applied to the skin of the back, abdomen, upper arms, or thigh, but NOT to the scrotum. It's also best to avoid bony areas such as the shoulders and hips as well as areas that get the greatest pressure while you are sleeping or sitting. You should change sites each day of the week, waiting 7 days before re-using a site.
Apply the prescribed number of patches every night. Press each patch firmly in place immediately after opening its pouch. Leave the patches in place for a full 24 hours. The application sites should be clean, dry, and free of irritation.
Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue using the patch.
Among younger men being treated for delayed sexual development, supplementary testosterone can cause breast enlargement; among older men, it increases the odds of prostate cancer. Among men with heart, kidney, or liver disease, it can lead to fluid retention and congestive heart failure. The Testoderm patch sometimes causes itching, discomfort, or irritation. The Androderm patch occasionally causes itching, blisters, burning, or hardening or reddening of the skin.
Do not use these patches if you have prostate cancer (or breast cancer). Avoid them if they give you an allergic reaction. The patches are not for use by women.
Some testosterone may be left on the skin after a patch is removed. Particularly with Testoderm, there is a possibility that your partner could absorb some of the hormone during sex and suffer unwanted changes. If she experiences increased hair growth or an aggravation of acne, inform your doctor.
Also check with your doctor if you have frequent or persistent erections, nausea, vomiting, changes in skin color, or ankle swelling.
Testosterone patches have not been tested in boys under 15 years of age.
Extra testosterone can decrease the need for blood-thinning drugs and insulin. While using the patch, you should also check with your doctor before taking the anti-inflammatory drug oxyphenbutazone.
Testosterone is intended for use only by males and must not be used by women. If used during pregnancy, it can cause serious harm to the developing baby.
The usual dose is 1 patch per day. The larger patch delivers 6 milligrams of testosterone. The smaller patch delivers 4 milligrams.
The usual starting dose is one 5-milligram patch or two 2.5-milligram patches per day. Depending on results, your doctor may increase the dosage to 1 large and 1 small patch (or 3 small patches) daily, or reduce it to 1 small patch per day of testosterone.
Testosterone overdose is very rare, but has been implicated in one case of stroke. Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately.