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Testosterone therapy for men

Testosterone therapy uses the male hormone testosterone to treat symptoms of low testosterone levels (hypogonadism), including:

Alternative names

Testerone replacement therapy; Androgen therapy; Androgen replacement therapy

Why is testosterone important for men?

Testosterone is a hormone made by the testicles in men.Testosterone is important for:

  • Keeping bones and muscles strong
  • Making sperm
  • Maintaining sex drive
  • Making red blood cells
  • Feeling well and having energy in general

How is testosterone therapy given?

The medicine used is man-made testosterone. It can be given as:

  • Skin patch or gel
  • Solution applied to the armpit
  • Patch applied to the upper gum
  • Injection

Talk with your doctor about which form of testosterone is right for you.

Risks and side effects of testosterone therapy

Before taking testosterone, discuss the risks with your doctor, including:


Children and women, especially pregnant or breastfeeding women, should not come into contact with this medicine. Follow package instructions about other precautions for the type of testosterone you are using.

Calling your doctor

It is important to have regular checkups with your doctor when taking testosterone therapy. If you have side effects, call your doctor.


Bhasin S, Cunningham GR, Hayes FJ, et al. Testosterone therapy in adult men with androgen deficiency syndromes: An Endocrine Society Clinical Practice guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010;95:2536-2559.

Swerdloff RS, Wang C. The testis and male sexual function. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 242.

Update Date: 6/27/2013

Updated by: Brent Wisse, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Nutrition, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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