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Androgel (Testosterone Transdermal) - Warnings and Precautions



  • Virilization has been reported in children who were secondarily exposed to testosterone gel [see Warnings and Precautions and Adverse Reactions].
  • Children should avoid contact with unwashed or unclothed application sites in men using testosterone gel [see Dosage and Administration and Warnings and Precautions].
  • Healthcare providers should advise patients to strictly adhere to recommended instructions for use [see Dosage and Administration Warnings and Precautions and Patient Counseling Information].


Worsening of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) and Potential Risk of Prostate Cancer

  • Patients with BPH treated with androgens are at an increased risk for worsening of signs and symptoms of BPH. Monitor patients with BPH for worsening signs and symptoms.
  • Patients treated with androgens may be at increased risk for prostate cancer. Evaluation of patients for prostate cancer prior to initiating and during treatment with androgens is appropriate [see Contraindications (4)].

Potential for Secondary Exposure to Testosterone

Cases of secondary exposure resulting in virilization of children have been reported in postmarketing surveillance of testosterone gel products. Signs and symptoms have included enlargement of the penis or clitoris, development of pubic hair, increased erections and libido, aggressive behavior, and advanced bone age. In most cases, these signs and symptoms regressed with removal of the exposure to testosterone gel. In a few cases, however, enlarged genitalia did not fully return to age-appropriate normal size, and bone age remained modestly greater than chronological age. The risk of transfer was increased in some of these cases by not adhering to precautions for the appropriate use of the topical testosterone product. Children and women should avoid contact with unwashed or unclothed application sites in men using AndroGel 1.62% [see Dosage and Administration Use in Specific Populations and Clinical Pharmacology].

Inappropriate changes in genital size or development of pubic hair or libido in children, or changes in body hair distribution, significant increase in acne, or other signs of virilization in adult women should be brought to the attention of a physician and the possibility of secondary exposure to testosterone gel should also be brought to the attention of a physician. Testosterone gel should be promptly discontinued until the cause of virilization has been identified.


Increases in hematocrit, reflective of increases in red blood cell mass, may require lowering or discontinuation of testosterone. Check hematocrit prior to initiating treatment. It would also be appropriate to re-evaluate the hematocrit 3 to 6 months after starting treatment, and then annually. If hematocrit becomes elevated, stop therapy until hematocrit decreases to an acceptable concentration. An increase in red blood cell mass may increase the risk of thromboembolic events.

Use in Women

Due to the lack of controlled evaluations in women and potential virilizing effects, AndroGel 1.62% is not indicated for use in women [see Contraindications and Use in Specific Populations (8.1, 8.3)].

Potential for Adverse Effects on Spermatogenesis

With large doses of exogenous androgens, including AndroGel 1.62%, spermatogenesis may be suppressed through feedback inhibition of pituitary FSH possibly leading to adverse effects on semen parameters including sperm count.

Hepatic Adverse Effects

Prolonged use of high doses of orally active 17-alpha-alkyl androgens (e.g., methyltestosterone) has been associated with serious hepatic adverse effects (peliosis hepatis, hepatic neoplasms, cholestatic hepatitis, and jaundice). Peliosis hepatis can be a life-threatening or fatal complication. Long-term therapy with intramuscular testosterone enanthate has produced multiple hepatic adenomas. AndroGel 1.62% is not known to cause these adverse effects.


Androgens, including AndroGel 1.62%, may promote retention of sodium and water. Edema, with or without congestive heart failure, may be a serious complication in patients with preexisting cardiac, renal, or hepatic disease [see Adverse Reactions ].


Gynecomastia may develop and persist in patients being treated with androgens, including AndroGel 1.62%, for hypogonadism.

Sleep Apnea

The treatment of hypogonadal men with testosterone may potentiate sleep apnea in some patients, especially those with risk factors such as obesity or chronic lung diseases.


Changes in serum lipid profile may require dose adjustment or discontinuation of testosterone therapy.


Androgens, including AndroGel 1.62 %, should be used with caution in cancer patients at risk of hypercalcemia (and associated hypercalciuria). Regular monitoring of serum calcium concentrations is recommended in these patients.

Decreased Thyroxine-binding Globulin

Androgens, including AndroGel 1.62%, may decrease concentrations of thyroxin-binding globulins, resulting in decreased total T4 serum concentrations and increased resin uptake of T3 and T4. Free thyroid hormone concentrations remain unchanged, however, and there is no clinical evidence of thyroid dysfunction.


Alcohol based products, including AndroGel 1.62%, are flammable; therefore, patients should be advised to avoid fire, flame or smoking until the AndroGel 1.62% has dried.



Pregnancy Category X [see Contraindications (4)]: AndroGel 1.62% is contraindicated during pregnancy or in women who may become pregnant. Testosterone is teratogenic and may cause fetal harm. Exposure of a fetus to androgens may result in varying degrees of virilization. If this drug is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, the patient should be made aware of the potential hazard to the fetus.

Nursing Mothers

Although it is not known how much testosterone transfers into human milk, AndroGel 1.62% is contraindicated in nursing women because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants. Testosterone and other androgens may adversely affect lactation [see Contraindications (4)].

Pediatric Use

The safety and effectiveness of AndroGel 1.62% in pediatric patients less than 18 years old has not been established. Improper use may result in acceleration of bone age and premature closure of epiphyses.

Geriatric Use

There have not been sufficient numbers of geriatric patients involved in controlled clinical studies utilizing AndroGel 1.62% to determine whether efficacy in those over 65 years of age differs from younger subjects. Of the 234 patients enrolled in the clinical trial utilizing AndroGel 1.62%, 21 were over 65 years of age. Additionally, there is insufficient long-term safety data in geriatric patients to assess the potentially increased risks of cardiovascular disease and prostate cancer.

Geriatric patients treated with androgens may also be at risk for worsening of signs and symptoms of BPH.

Renal Impairment

No studies were conducted involving patients with renal impairment.

Hepatic Impairment

No studies were conducted in patients with hepatic impairment.

Page last updated: 2013-03-02

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