Androderm is a transdermal testosterone medication used for the treatment of low testosterone in men. This testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) tool is very similar to testosterone gels and creams like AndroGel. Androderm contains a testosterone gel, but it is located in a reservoir inside a patch that is attached to the skin through an adhesive. There’s really not a big difference in the functionality and even the side effects of Androderm will be identical to gels and creams. In fact, with the exception of possible adhesive issues the side effects of Androderm will be the same as injectable testosterone or any testosterone form. The side effects of Androderm, while possible we will find the side effects of Androderm are largely of no concern for most men. Most men can tolerate TRT very well; in fact, most men can tolerate supraphysiological doses of testosterone fairly well, at least to a point. With that in mind, we want to look at the possible side effects of Androderm, understand what they are and ensure you minimize their occurrence while only benefiting from your TRT therapy.
The estrogenic side effects of Androderm include gynecomastia and excess water retention. However, while possible the estrogenic side effects of Androderm are extremely easy to avoid. The testosterone hormone has the ability to convert to estrogen due to its interaction with the aromatase enzyme. Many physicians will prescribe the TRT patient an Aromatase Inhibitor (AI) such as Arimidex (Anastrozole) in order to provide a protection. AI’s will inhibit the aromatase process, thereby lowering serum estrogen levels in the body and preventing the related adverse effects from occurring. In most cases a very low dose of an AI will get the job done. Important note – not all men will need an anti-estrogen in order to combat the estrogenic side effects of Androderm. In any TRT plan the total testosterone dose is normally on the low end and well below what would be considered performance enhancement. Sensitivity issues will dictate quite a bit. The individual’s level of body fat will also play a role. Higher levels of body fat can increase the risk of estrogenic effects.
Androgenic side effects of Androderm are possible but are extremely unlikely in a TRT plan. The androgenic side effects of testosterone are most commonly associated with supraphysiological doses of testosterone, but even then they are dependent on genetic predispositions. While unlikely, the possible androgenic side effects of Androderm include acne, hair loss and body hair growth. However, you must be predisposed to male pattern baldness in order to lose any hair and sensitive in other areas for there to be an affect. As TRT is designed to bring the body back to an optimal hormonal state, this makes the androgenic side effects of Androderm even less likely. However, if absolutely needed they can be combated by the use of a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. The testosterone hormone itself is metabolized by the 5-alpha reductase enzyme, which will reduce the hormone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and gives it its relative androgenicity. The use of related inhibitors like Finasteride will reduce the androgenicity of testosterone significantly, but they should not be used unless absolutely necessary. 5-alpha reductase inhibitors can weaken the testosterone hormone, and they also carry side effects of their own and can create an androgen imbalance that can be problematic. Very few men should need an inhibitor; in fact, if therapy is performed properly there should be no need for one in most cases. Important note – due to the testosterone hormone’s androgenicity, the androgenic side effects of Androderm will promote virilization in women and cannot be recommended. Women can suffer from low testosterone and in some cases require TRT; however, there are other options that are far more suitable.
The cardiovascular side effects of Androderm include cholesterol and possible blood pressure issues but with proper therapy should not occur. The use of exogenous testosterone can lower or suppress HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) but data shows the total rate of suppression is rather insignificant. However, when exogenous testosterone is applied with an AI even at therapeutic levels HDL cholesterol may be suppressed by as much as 25%. Managing a proper and healthy balance between your testosterone and AI will help. A cholesterol friendly lifestyle will also offer a lot of protection and the following tips will aid in this end:
Important Note – while high blood pressure is possible, barring any underlying issue it is highly unlikely so as long as water retention is controlled.
As with all exogenous testosterone hormones the side effects of Androderm will include natural testosterone suppression. This is, however, of no concern for the TRT patient as he is no longer producing enough testosterone to begin with. This suppression will also cause the testicles to atrophy; they will not vanish or disappear, but they will lose a little fullness. This can be corrected by the use of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) if desired, but it’s not always necessary. The atrophy is often so minimal it doesn’t bother many men and regardless of the level of atrophy it presents no risk.
The side effects of Androderm can include skin irritation in some men due to the adhesive that is used to attach the patch to the skin. Approximately one in twenty men will experience irritation. If irritation occurs, it can sometimes be relieved by the use of hydrocortisone. Many men will, however, need to seek out an alternative form of testosterone treatment should irritation occur.