Testim Vs. Androgel

Testim and Androgel are two testosterone topicals that are commonly prescribed to patients with hypogonadism or underproduction of testosterone in males as a part of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Not everyone is OK with regular injections of testosterone which might be painful, uncomfortable, or requiring visiting healthcare professionals to make sure they’re done the right way. Thus, there was the need in other forms of treating testosterone deficiency, especially topical gels that are easier to use and that come with less serious side effects. Androgel became the first testosterone gel to be introduced to the market, with Testim following suit years later.

Aren’t they basically identical?

At first glance, it might be tricky to figure out why your doctor prefers one over another. Theoretically, Testim and Androgel are supposed to have the same effect on the human body as their active ingredient is testosterone in the same doses. 

Inactive ingredients are what make them different and affect the way these topical gels get absorbed through the skin. In the case of Androgel, these include purified water, carbomer 980, 67.0% ethanol, isopropyl myristate, and sodium hydroxide.

As for Testim, apart from testosterone, it consists of purified water, acrylates, pentadecalactone, propylene glycol, carbopol, glycerin, 74% ethanol, and tromethamine.

Several open-label comparison studies have shown that the pharmacokinetics as well as bioavailability of these two commercially successful testosterone gels are not identical. Testim is known for a better absorption, which can be explained by the presence of the emollient called pentadecalactone. It also gives Testim its unmistakable scent.

Switching from Androgel to Testim

Switching from Androgel to Testim makes sense if the patient doesn’t respond to the treatment even after the dose of the former is increased. For many patients it can make a great difference.
Thus, if normal biologic levels of testosterone need to be achieved in your situation, and the prescribed Androgel doesn’t work, switching to other forms of testosterone products (pills, shots, and patches) isn’t recommended. At first you need to try other testosterone gels like Testim. Here is why:

  • Pills are too toxic for the liver.
  • Injectables significantly increase testosterone levels.
  • Patches can bring about skin reactivity in many cases.
Testim Vs. Androgel

What if Testim doesn’t work?

If Testim was the first testosterone gel you’ve been prescribed, and it fails to alleviate the symptoms of your hypogonadism or doesn’t allow you to achieve the required serum levels, your doctor might make a decision to change it to Androgel. It might be helpful in minimizing side effects that were caused by Testim, but the likelihood of noticeable biochemical improvements is pretty low.

Frequently asked questions about Testim and Androgel

Which option is cheaper?

The 1% concentration of Androgel will probably be the least expensive option. However, the difference in pricing wouldn’t be significant enough to take it into account.

Do they cure hypogonadism?

No, they don’t. Just like any other testosterone medications, they are used to treat the condition of hypogonadism by normalizing the levels of testosterone in your body. If you stop the treatment, however, the symptoms of the condition will come back.

How to apply testosterone gels?

There are basically no differences in application instructions for Androgel and Testim. Both are fast-acting and must be rubbed into the skin of shoulders or upper arms once or twice a day. In the case of Androgel (if this is 1% gel, but not 1.62%), you can also rub it into the area of the abdomen.

The skin must be dry and clean. You need to wait a few minutes to let the gel get absorbed better before you can get dressed. It’s obligatory to wash your hands immediately after the application. 

Also, you need to avoid taking a showerof swimming 5-6 hours after applying either Androgel or Testim. Apart from that, you should be very careful and avoid skin-to-skin-contact with other people to make sure they are not exposed to the gel, especially women and children.

A word of caution

Self-medicating with either Testim or Androgel isn’t reasonable. The advertisements for these testosterone gels are misleading since it should not be used to treat sexual dysfunction based on age. Testim are Androgel should be prescribed only when there is clinical data suggesting the patient’s testosterone levels aren’t within the normal range characteristic to their age..

Feeling less active sexually when the person is over 60 is fine and shouldn’t be the reason for hormonal therapy.


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