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Side Effects & Adverse Reactions

Clinical Trials Experience

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared with rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.

Table 1 shows the adverse reactions that were reported by > 3% of 36 hypogonadal men who were treated with ANDRODERM 2 mg/day, 4 mg/day, or 6 mg/day for 28 days. Of note, all hypogonadal men studied had been stable users of topical testosterone replacement products prior to the study and there was no washout period between therapies. Furthermore, there was only one subject titrated to 6 mg/day and he withdrew from the study prematurely. 

Table 1. Adverse Reactions Seen With the Use of ANDRODERM 2 mg/day, 4 mg/day, or 6 mg/day (> 3%)
Adverse ReactionOverall
N = 36

 Application site pruritus 17
 Application site vesicles6
 Back pain6

Other less common adverse reactions reported by < 3% of patients included: application site erythema, application site exfoliation, chills, diarrhea, fatigue, gastroesophageal reflux disease, hemarthrosis, hematuria, headache, polyuria, and prostatitis. The overall incidence of application site reactions of any kind was 28% (10 subjects with 13 adverse reactions).

No serious adverse reactions to ANDRODERM 2 mg/day and 4 mg/day were reported during the clinical trial.

Table 2 shows the adverse reactions that were reported in > 3% of 122 patients in clinical studies with ANDRODERM dosage strengths of 2.5 mg/day, 5 mg/day, and 7.5 mg/day. The most common adverse reactions reported were application site reactions. Transient mild to moderate erythema was observed at the site of application in the majority of patients at some time during treatment. The overall incidence of application site reactions of any kind was 48% (59 subjects with 107 adverse reactions).

Table 2. Adverse Reactions Seen With the Use of ANDRODERM 2.5 mg/day, 5 mg/day, or 7.5 mg/day (> 3%)
 Adverse Reaction  Overall
N = 122

 Application site pruritus 37
 Application site blistering 12
 Application site erythema 7
 Application site vesicles 6
 Prostate abnormalities 5
 Headache 4
 Contact dermatitis to system 4 
 Application site burning 3
 Application site induration 3
 Depression 3

The following reactions occurred in less than 3% of patients: rash, gastrointestinal bleeding, fatigue, body pain, pelvic pain, hypertension, peripheral vascular disease, increased appetite, accelerated growth, anxiety, confusion, decreased libido, paresthesia, thinking abnormalities, vertigo, acne, bullae at application site, mechanical irritation at application site, rash at application site, contamination of application site, prostate carcinoma, dysuria, hematuria, impotence, urinary incontinence, urinary tract infection, and testicular abnormalities.

Legal Issues

There is currently no legal information available for this drug.

FDA Safety Alerts

There are currently no FDA safety alerts available for this drug.

Manufacturer Warnings

Worsening of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia and Potential Risk of Prostate Cancer

  • Monitor patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) for worsening of signs and symptoms of BPH.
  • Patients treated with androgens may be at increased risk for prostate cancer. Evaluate patients for prostate cancer prior to initiating treatment. It is appropriate to re-evaluate patients 3 to 6 months after initiation of treatment, and then in accordance with prostate cancer screening practices .


Increases in hematocrit, reflective of increases in red blood cell mass, may require lowering or discontinuation of testosterone. Check hematocrit prior to initiating testosterone treatment. It is appropriate to re-evaluate the hematocrit 3 to 6 months after starting testosterone treatment, and then monitor annually. Discontinue testosterone therapy if the hematocrit becomes elevated. Testosterone therapy may be restarted when the hematocrit decreases to an acceptable level. An increase in red blood cell mass may increase the risk of thromboembolic events.

Venous Thromboembolism

There have been postmarketing reports of venous thromboembolic events, including deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), in patients using testosterone products such as ANDRODERM. Evaluate patients who report symptoms of pain, edema, warmth and erythema in the lower extremity for DVT and those who present with acute shortness of breath for PE. If a venous thromboembolic event is suspected, discontinue treatment with ANDRODERM and initiate appropriate workup and management.

Cardiovascular Risk

Long term clinical safety trials have not been conducted to assess the cardiovascular outcomes of testosterone replacement therapy in men. To date, epidemiologic studies and randomized controlled trials have been inconclusive for determining the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) such as non-fatal myocardial infarction, non-fatal stroke, and cardiovascular death, with the use of testosterone compared to non-use. Some studies, but not all, have reported an increased risk of MACE in association with use of testosterone replacement therapy in men. Patients should be informed of this possible risk when deciding whether to use or to continue to use ANDRODERM.

Use in Women and Children

Women and children should not use ANDRODERM. Use in women and children has not been studied with ANDRODERM.

Due to lack of controlled studies in women and potential virilizing effects, ANDRODERM is not indicated for use in women and children.

Potential for Adverse Effects on Spermatogenesis

At large doses of exogenous androgens, including ANDRODERM, spermatogenesis may be suppressed through feedback inhibition of pituitary follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) that could lead to adverse effects on semen parameters including reduction of sperm count.

Hepatic Adverse Effects

Prolonged use of high doses of orally active 17-alpha-alkyl androgens (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. ANDRODERM is not known to cause these adverse effects.


Androgens, including ANDRODERM, may promote retention of sodium and water. Edema, with or without congestive heart failure, may be a serious complication in patients with pre-existing cardiac, renal, or hepatic disease.


Gynecomastia may develop and persist in patients being treated with androgens, including ANDRODERM, 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 and chronic lung disease.


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


Androgens, including ANDRODERM, 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 ANDRODERM, may decrease concentrations of thyroxine-binding globulins, resulting in decreased total T4 serum concentration and increased resin uptake of T3 and T4. Free thyroid hormone concentration remains unchanged and there is no clinical evidence of thyroid dysfunction.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Skin burns have been reported at the application site in patients wearing an aluminized transdermal system during a magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI). Because ANDRODERM contains aluminum, it is recommended to remove the system before undergoing an MRI.

FDA Labeling Changes

There are currently no FDA labeling changes available for this drug.


ANDRODERM is indicated for replacement therapy in adult males for conditions associated with a deficiency or absence of endogenous testosterone.

      •      Primary hypogonadism (congenital or acquired): testicular failure due to conditions such as cryptorchidism,  bilateral torsion, orchitis, vanishing testis syndrome, orchiectomy, Klinefelter Syndrome, chemotherapy, or toxic damage from alcohol or heavy metals. These men usually have low serum testosterone concentrations and gonadotropins (FSH, LH) above the normal range.

      •      Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (congenital or acquired): gonadotropin or luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) deficiency or pituitary-hypothalamic injury from tumors, trauma, or radiation. These men have low testosterone serum concentrations but have gonadotropins in the normal or low range.

Limitations of use

      •      Safety and efficacy of ANDRODERM in men with “age-related hypogonadism” (also referred to as “late-onset hypogonadism”) have not been established.

      •      Safety and efficacy of ANDRODERM in males less than 18 years old have not been established .


There is currently no drug history available for this drug.

Other Information

Prior to initiating ANDRODERM, confirm the diagnosis of hypogonadism by ensuring that serum testosterone concentrations have been measured in the morning on at least two separate days and that these serum testosterone concentrations are below the normal range.

The recommended starting dose is one ANDRODERM 4 mg/day system (not two 2 mg/day systems) applied nightly for 24 hours, delivering approximately 4 mg of testosterone per day.  To ensure proper dosing, approximately 2 weeks after starting therapy, the early morning serum testosterone concentration should be measured following system application the previous evening. Serum concentrations outside the range of 400 - 930 ng/dL require increasing the daily dose to 6 mg (i.e., one 4 mg/day and one 2 mg/day system) or decreasing the daily dose to 2 mg (i.e., one 2 mg/day system), maintaining nightly application.

Patients currently maintained on ANDRODERM 2.5 mg/day, 5 mg/day, and 7.5 mg/day may be switched to the 2 mg/day, 4 mg/day, and 6 mg/day dosage using the following schema:

  • Patients using 2.5 mg daily may be switched to 2 mg/day systems at the next scheduled dose.
  • Patients using 5 mg daily may be switched to 4 mg/day systems at the next scheduled dose.
  • Patients using 7.5 mg daily may be switched to 6 mg (2 mg/day and 4 mg/day systems) at the next scheduled dose.

To ensure proper dosing, approximately 2 weeks after switching therapy, the early morning serum testosterone concentration should be measured following system application the previous evening.

The adhesive side of the ANDRODERM system should be applied to a clean, dry area of the skin on the back, abdomen, upper arms, or thighs. Avoid application over bony prominences or on a part of the body that may be subject to prolonged pressure during sleep or sitting (e.g., the deltoid region of the upper arm, the greater trochanter of the femur, and the ischial tuberosity). DO NOT APPLY TO THE SCROTUM. The sites of application should be rotated, with an interval of 7 days between applications to the same site. The area selected should not be oily, damaged, or irritated.

The system should be applied immediately after opening the pouch and removing the protective release liner. The system should be pressed firmly in place, making sure there is good contact with the skin, especially around the edges.

The patient should avoid swimming, showering, or washing the administration site for a minimum of 3 hours after application .

Mild skin irritation may be ameliorated by treatment of the affected skin with over-the-counter topical hydrocortisone cream applied after system removal. Applying a small amount of 0.1% triamcinolone acetonide cream to the skin under the central drug reservoir of the ANDRODERM system has been shown to reduce the incidence and severity of skin irritation.

Androderm Manufacturers

  • Actavis Pharma, Inc.
    Androderm (Testosterone) Patch [Actavis Pharma, Inc.]

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