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AndroGel® is a prescription topical medication used to boost male hormone levels in men who suffer from low testosterone. The gel contains a diluted form of testosterone that is slowly absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream after it is applied. When the medication is used daily as prescribed by a doctor, most patients see marked improvements in their low testosterone symptoms. AndroGel® can increase sexual desire and ability, deepen the voice, and improve waning secondary sex characteristics, such as loss of body hair and muscle mass. There are some risks of side effects associated with the drug, so it is important to keep appointments with a doctor during treatment to make sure complications do not arise.
Men who have low testosterone due to traumatic accidents, radiation treatments, heavy metal poisoning, cancer, or congenital abnormalities may be good candidates for AndroGel®. A doctor can prescribe the medication after confirming the underlying cause and running multiple lab tests on blood and semen to make sure it is the best treatment option. AndroGel® comes in pre-measured dosage packets and metered-dose pump application tubes to be used once daily. It is important for patients to stay on their dosage schedules and avoid using more of the drug than is prescribed to prevent potentially serious complications.
Most patients are instructed to apply the gel to clean, dry areas on their shoulders or upper arms, and then immediately wash their hands with soap and water. In order to give the gel time to absorb, patients should wait about 15 minutes before putting on clothing. Swimming or bathing should be avoided for at least five hours.
Possible side effects of AndroGel® include headaches, nervousness, hot flashes, and changes in mood. Some men experience changes in their sleep patterns, acne outbreaks, and slight breast enlargement. Rarely, the medication can induce serious side effects such as rapid breathing, fainting, vomiting, and swelling in the extremities that should be reported to a doctor right away. Women and children can experience major harmful effects if they come into contact with AndroGel®, so no one in the household should handle the medication except the patient.
AndroGel® is highly effective for most men. Depending on a patient's response, he may be able to stop using the medication after a few weeks or months. Other men need to stay on treatment indefinitely. If side effects occur or the gel does not appear to be helping, there are other hormone replacement treatment options available.