Sunday, April 21st, 2024

AndroGel (1.62%) Secondary Exposure


A new set of safety studies on AndroGel 1.62% were recently published (1-3), which examined the potential for accidental transfer of testosterone to others. The findings were relatively consistent with previous studies on AndroGel and other transdermal testosterones, though the specifics may still be of interest to readers concerned with this. The main transfer experiments in this case involved applying AndroGel 1.62% to a patient with low testosterone at varying sites such as the abdomen, shoulders, and/or upper arms. At 2 hours and 12 hours after, contact with a female partner was supervised for 15 minutes. In some cases, a t-shirt was worn by the man. In others, the contact was skin on skin. A standard dose of the new formula (2.5 g or 5 g) was by the men

Women who came into direct skin on skin contact with the men after abdominal application noticed a spike in their testosterone levels by 86-185%. The levels, however, remained within the normal range for females, suggesting the exposure risk was not great. Surprisingly, the use of a t-shirt reduced the hormone exposure to female partners only by 40-48%; it did not completely protect against hormone transfer. Other areas of application on the body proved much less troublesome than the abdomen, which is presumably why the shoulders and arms are recommended on this new version of AndroGel.  Note that in no instance was the transfer problematic in this experiment (no side effects were reported in the women).

For those still concerned about accidental transfer of hormone to others, washing with soap and water before contact (also studied by this group) remains the best method of prevention. On average, this removed more than 80% of hormone residue from the skin. Furthermore, provided enough time is given after applying the hormone, washing should not greatly influence the therapeutic value of treatment. When the men showered 10 hours after application, there was no significant change in their hormone levels at all (it was almost completely absorbed at that point). Even when showering at 2 and 6 hours after application, serum testosterone levels were only reduced by 10-14%.

(1) Serum testosterone levels in non-dosed females after secondary exposure to 1.62% testosterone gel: effects of clothing barrier on testosterone absorption. Stahlman J, Britto M, Fitzpatrick S, McWhirter C, Testino SA, Brennan JJ, Zumbrunnen TL. Curr Med Res Opin. 2011 Dec 22.
(2) Effect of application site, clothing barrier, and application site washing on testosterone transfer with a 1.62% testosterone gel. Jodi S, Margaret B, Sherahe F, Cecilia M, Samuel AT, John JB, Troy LZ. Curr Med Res Opin. 2011 Dec 22.
(3) Effects of skin washing on systemic absorption of testosterone in hypogonadal males after administration of 1.62% testosterone gel. Jodi S, Margaret B, Sherahe F, Cecilia M, Samuel AT, John JB, Troy LZ. Curr Med Res Opin. 2011 Dec 20.

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