Testosterone transdermal patches are used to treat the symptoms of low testosterone in men who do not produce enough natural testosterone. Testosterone is a hormone that is usually produced by the body that contributes to the growth, development, and functioning of the male sexual organs and typical male characteristics. Symptoms of low testosterone include decreased sexual desire and ability, extreme tiredness, low energy, depression, and loss of certain male characteristics such as muscular build and deep voice. Testosterone patches work by supplying synthetic testosterone to replace testosterone that is normally produced naturally.

Although testosterone is generally considered “the male hormone,” it is also an important hormone for women. Women produce testosterone in their ovaries and adrenal glands and are believed to require sufficient levels of the hormone for proper sexual functioning. About half of a woman’s testosterone comes from the ovaries, and as a result women whose ovaries are removed before menopause lose about half their While oestrogen replacement therapy can relieve symptoms such as hot flushes, vaginal atrophy and osteoporosis in women who have had their ovaries removed, many such women who take oestrogen still report a loss of sexual desire, activity and pleasure, as well as reduced overall sense of well being natural testosterone, along with 80 percent of their natural oestrogens.

How to apply testosterone patches?

Follow these four simple steps to apply the patches:

  1. Tear open the sachet but do not use scissors as you may accidentally damage the testosterone patch. Apply the patch immediately after removing.
  1. While holding the patch, remove half of the protective liner which covers the sticky part of the patch. Avoid touching the sticky side of testosterone patches with your fingers.
  1. Apply the sticky side of testosterone patches onto your lower abdominal skin and then remove the other half of the protective line and press the whole patch for about 10 seconds.
  1. Use your fingers to make sure the edges of the testosterone patch stick to the skin.

Special precautions

Before using testosterone patches,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to testosterone, ethanol, or any other medications.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and non prescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention any of the following: anticoagulants (‘blood thinners’) such as warfarin (Coumadin); insulin (Humalin, Humalog, Novolin, others); oral steroids such as dexamethasone (Decadron, Dexone), methylprednisolone (Medrol), and prednisone (Deltasone); and propranolol (Inderal). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
  • tell your doctor if you have a family history of prostate cancer, if you smoke or work with heavy metals such as cadmium and if you have or have ever had a blood disorder, breast or prostate cancer, diabetes, or heart, kidney, liver, or lung disease.
  • you should know that transdermal testosterone is only for use in men. Women should not use this medication, especially if they are or may become pregnant or are breastfeeding. Testosterone may harm the fetus.
  • you should know that Androderm and Testoderm patches may be worn during sexual activity. It is very unlikely that your partner will be exposed to more than slight amounts of testosterone. However, there is a slight possiblity that the patch may be transferred to the partner’s skin. If this happens, remove the patch and wash the area well. Call a doctor immediately if your female partner develops bad acne or grows hair in new places on her body.
  • if you are using Androderm patches, your skin may become irritated in the place where you apply the patch(es). If this happens, you may apply a small amount of hydrocortisone cream to the area after removing your patch(es). Only use hydrocortisone cream; do not use an ointment. If your skin remains irritated after this treatment, call your doctor.

Side effects

Transdermal testosterone may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • itching, pain, or irritation of scrotum if you are using Testoderm patches
  • burn-like blisters, pain, redness, hardness, or itching in the place you applied Androderm patches
  • enlarged or tender breasts
  • acne
  • depression
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • pain anywhere in the body, especially the back

Can I use testosterone patches while showering, bathing and exercising?

You may shower, bath, swim and exercise as normal while wearing Intrinsa patch. Testosterone patches are designed to remain in place during these times. However, do not scrub the area where the patches have been applied too hard.

Sources: Atlantic Drugs , Keele , ABC

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