Testosterone Patch | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More

Generic Name:

testosterone, Transdermal patch

All Brands

  • Androderm
  • Testoderm (Discontinued)
A discontinued drug is a drug that has been taken off the market due to safety issues, shortage of raw materials, or low market demand.
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Highlights for testosterone

Transdermal patch
1

Testosterone is available in these forms: transdermal patch, topical gel, topical solution, nasal gel, and buccal tablet. It is also available as an implant that a healthcare provider inserts under your skin or an oil that a healthcare provider injects into your muscle.

2

Testosterone is used to treat males with hypogonadism. Males with this condition can’t make enough of the hormone testosterone.

3

Testosterone transdermal patch is available as the brand-name drug Androderm. It’s not available as a generic drug.

4

The more common side effects of this drug may include redness, irritation, burning, and blisters at application site. They may also include back pain.

5

In some cases testosterone may cause serious side effects. These can include enlarged prostate, increased risk of prostate cancer, blood clots in your lungs or the veins of your legs, increased risk of heart attack or stroke, and lowered sperm count. Other serious side effects include swelling of your ankles, feet, or body, enlarged or painful breasts, problems sleeping (sleep apnea), and erections that last longer than 4 hours.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Increased risk of heart attack or stroke

There may be an increased risk of heart attack and stroke from treatment with this drug.

Blood clots

Use of this drug may be related to an increased risk of blood clots in your lungs (pulmonary embolism) or blood clots in the deep veins of your legs (deep vein thrombosis).

Drug features

Testosterone is a controlled prescription drug. It is available in these forms: transdermal patch, topical gel, topical solution, nasal gel, and buccal tablet.

The transdermal patch is available as the brand-name drug Androderm. It isn’t available as a generic drug. 

Testosterone is also available as an implant that is inserted under your skin by a healthcare provider or an oil that is injected into your muscle by a healthcare provider.

Why it's used

Testosterone is used to treat males with hypogonadism. Males with this condition can’t make enough of the hormone testosterone.

How it works

Testosterone belongs to a class of drugs called androgens. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way.

More Details

How it works

Testosterone belongs to a class of drugs called androgens. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions. 

This drug works by adding testosterone to your body because it can’t make enough itself.

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testosterone Side Effects

Transdermal patch

More Common Side Effects

Some of the more common side effects that can occur with use of testosterone transdermal patch include:

  • redness, irritation, burning, and blisters at your application site

  • back pain

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Enlarged prostate. Symptoms can include:

    • increased urination at night
    • trouble starting your urine stream
    • urinating many times during the day
    • the urge to go to the bathroom right away
    • urine accidents
    • being unable to pass urine or weak urine flow
  • Prostate cancer

  • Blood clots in your lungs or the veins of your legs. Symptoms can include:

    • leg pain, swelling, or redness
    • difficulty breathing or chest pain
  • Heart attack or stroke

  • Lowered sperm count (when large doses of the drug are taken)

  • Swelling of your ankles, feet, or body

  • Enlarged or painful breasts

  • Problems while you sleep (sleep apnea)

  • Erections that last longer than 4 hours

Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Testosterone does not cause drowsiness.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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testosterone May Interact with Other Medications

Transdermal patch

Testosterone can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well. 

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Interactions that can increase the risk of side effects

Taking testosterone with certain drugs raises your risk of side effects from these drugs. Examples of these drugs include:

  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone or corticosteroids. Taking testosterone with these drugs may increase fluid build-up (edema) in your body. Your doctor will monitor you closely for fluid build-up, especially if you have heart, liver, or kidney disease.

Interactions that may require dosage changes

Certain drugs may not work as well if you take them while you take testosterone. Examples of these drugs include:

  • Insulin. Taking testosterone may decrease your blood sugar level. If you are taking testosterone with insulin, your doctor may need to decrease your insulin dose.
  • Blood thinners such as warfarin, apixaban, dabigatran, or rivaroxaban. Taking testosterone can change how your blood clots. If you also take a blood thinner, you may be at risk of bleeding more easily. Your doctor may need to decrease your dose of blood thinner while you take testosterone.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

Men with liver disease

If you have liver disease, taking this drug may cause your body to retain fluid (edema). 

Men with heart disease

If you have heart disease, testosterone may cause salt and water retention. This may cause swelling with or without heart failure.

Men with kidney disease

If you have kidney disease or a history of kidney disease, taking this drug may cause your body to retain fluid (edema).

Men with breast cancer

You should not use this drug if you have breast cancer. Taking this drug may make your cancer worse.

Men with prostate cancer

You should not use this drug if you have prostate cancer. Taking this drug may make your cancer worse.

Men who are overweight

If you are overweight, taking this drug may make breathing while you sleep more difficult. It could lead to sleep apnea.

Men with diabetes

Taking this drug may decrease your blood sugar levels. If you treat your diabetes with insulin, your doctor may need to decrease your insulin dose.

Men with enlarged prostate

This drug may make the symptoms of your enlarged prostate worse. Your doctor will monitor you for worsening signs and symptoms while you take this drug.

For seniors

Testosterone replacement should not be used in seniors with age-related decreases in testosterone (andropause). There is not enough long-term safety information available to assess the risks of prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease or worsening of enlarged prostate in seniors.

For children

This medication has not been studied in children. It should not be used in people younger than 18 years. Use in children may cause their bones to mature more quickly without increasing height. This may cause a child to stop growing sooner than expected, and the child may be shorter.

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How to Take testosterone (Dosage)

Transdermal patch

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Primary hypogonadism

Brand: Androderm

Form: Transdermal patch
Strengths: 2 mg, 4 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)
  • Typical starting dosage: The usual starting dose is one 4-mg transdermal patch applied each night to your back, stomach, upper arm, or thigh. Do not use the same application site twice in 7 days. Take the previous day’s patch off before applying a new one.
  • Dosage adjustments: Your doctor may adjust your dose depending on your morning testosterone levels. Usual maintenance doses are 2–6 mg per day.
  • Maximum dosage: The maximum dose is 6 mg per day.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medication should not be used in people younger than 18 years. Use in children may cause bones to mature more quickly without increasing height. This may cause a child to stop growing sooner than expected and as a result may have a shorter adult height.

Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism

Brand: Androderm

Form: Transdermal patch
Strengths: 2 mg, 4 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)
  • Typical starting dosage: The usual starting dose is one 4-mg transdermal patch applied each night to your back, stomach, upper arm, or thigh. Do not use the same application site twice in 7 days. Take the previous day’s patch off before applying a new one.
  • Dosage adjustments: Your doctor may adjust your dose depending on your morning testosterone levels. Usual maintenance doses are 2–6 mg per day.
  • Maximum dosage: The maximum dose is 6 mg per day.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medication should not be used in people younger than 18 years. Use in children may cause bones to mature more quickly without increasing height. This may cause a child to stop growing sooner than expected and as a result may have a shorter adult height.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Testosterone comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.  

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times. If you don’t take this medication as directed, you may experience symptoms such as body hair loss, breast growth, muscle loss, and reduced growth of penis and testicles. You may also experience erectile dysfunction, fragile bones (osteoporosis), low sex drive, infertility, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.

If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose

Take your dose as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects. 

How to tell if the drug is working

Your symptoms of low testosterone should get better. These symptoms may include body hair loss, breast growth, muscle loss, and reduced growth of penis and testicles. They may also include erectile dysfunction, fragile bones (osteoporosis), low sex drive, infertility, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.

Testosterone is used for long-term drug treatment.

Important considerations for taking testosterone

Store this drug carefully

  • Store testosterone transdermal patches at room temperature between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C).
  • Keep them away from light. Apply the patch to your skin right after you open the protective pouch.
  • Do not store the patch after its protective pouch has been opened.
  • Discard used patches in a place where children and pets can’t get to them.

A prescription for this medication is refillable

You should not need a new prescription to refill this drug. Your doctor will write the number of refills on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Self-management

Wait at least 3 hours after you apply the patch before you shower, swim, or wash the application site.

Clinical monitoring

Your doctor may do tests while you take this drug. These tests include:

  • Hemoglobin and hematocrit test. Your doctor should check your blood for an increased amount of red blood cells.
  • Cholesterol level tests. Your doctor should check your blood cholesterol because testosterone may increase your cholesterol level.
  • Liver function tests. Your doctor should check your liver function.
  • Testosterone level tests. Your doctor should monitor your testosterone levels to make sure your dosage is correct.
  • Prostate exam and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests. If you are older, your doctor may check your prostate and your PSA levels to make sure your prostate is healthy.

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

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How Much Does testosterone Cost?

Transdermal patch

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for testosterone on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

Show Sources

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on January 7, 2016

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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