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Axiron vs Androgel

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Axiron Details

Androgel Details


Axiron Prescription Information

Androgel Prescription Information

Axiron Side Effects

Androgel Side Effects

Safety Information

Cost Information

Market Information


For men experiencing symptoms of low testosterone, there are several treatment options available that can help to restore hormone levels and alleviate the associated physical and emotional discomforts. Axiron and Androgel are two such drugs typically prescribed for this purpose. Both medications work by supplementing or replacing naturally produced testosterone in the body, but they differ slightly in their administration methods and absorption rates.

Axiron is an underarm solution applied directly to the skin, where it gets absorbed into the blood stream over time. On the other hand, Androgel is a topical gel that's usually applied on upper arms or shoulders once daily. Both medications aim to increase testosterone levels in patients with hypogonadism (low testosterone), with each offering distinct benefits depending on individual patient needs and lifestyle considerations.

Axiron vs Androgel Side By Side

Brand NameAxironAndrogel
ContraindicationsBreast cancer in men, suspected prostate cancer, known hypersensitivity to ingredients (including soy), pregnant women or those who may become pregnantBreast cancer in men, suspected prostate cancer, known hypersensitivity to ingredients (including soy), pregnant women or those who may become pregnant
CostAbout $550 for a single bottle (60 doses, 30 mg each)About $650 for one pump bottle (20.25 mg/gm - 88 gm)
Generic NameTestosteroneTestosterone
Most Serious Side EffectSigns of heart condition, liver problems, severe allergic reactionsSigns of heart condition, mood changes, rapid weight gain with swelling
Severe Drug InteractionsNot specifically mentioned, but caution advised with medications affecting hormone levels and blood clot riskNot specifically mentioned, but caution advised with medications affecting hormone levels and blood clot risk
Typical DoseStarts at 30 mg/day, up to a maximum of 120 mg/dayInitiated at 50 mg/day, adjustable up to 100 mg/day

What is Axiron?

Axiron (testosterone) and Androgel are both topical gels used to treat males with low or no testosterone. Axiron, unlike other testosterone replacement therapies, is applied in the armpit area using an applicator. Approved by the FDA in 2010, it works by replacing or supplementing the testosterone that is naturally made in the body. On the other hand, Androgel was approved by FDA earlier in 2001 and can be applied on upper arms, shoulders or abdomen.

Both these medications help to increase energy levels, improve mood and feelings of well-being, enhance sexual interest and performance etc., which may have been affected due to low levels of testosterone. While they share common features being from same class of drugs; their application areas differ significantly - a factor that might influence patients' choice between two depending upon convenience & comfortability factors.

As far as side effects are concerned; Axiron tends to cause skin irritation at application site more often than AndroGel does but overall both show similar safety profiles.

What conditions is Axiron approved to treat?

Axiron and AndroGel are both approved for the treatment of certain conditions related to low testosterone:

  • Hypogonadism, a condition where the body doesn't produce enough testosterone
  • Conditions associated with a deficiency or absence of endogenous testosterone
  • Primary hypogonadism (congenital or acquired)
  • Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (congenital or acquired)

How does Axiron help with these illnesses?

Axiron and Androgel are both topical gels designed to treat low testosterone levels in men, a condition also known as hypogonadism. They work by supplying the body with a synthetic form of testosterone that is absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream. Testosterone is a crucial hormone for men, playing important roles in maintaining muscle mass, bone density, fat distribution, sex drive (libido), and sperm production.

Low levels of testosterone can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, depression, decreased physical performance or libido. Therefore, by supplying additional testosterone via Axiron or Androgel application on specific parts of the body (underarms for Axiron; shoulders or upper arms for Androgel), these medications can help manage symptoms associated with low testosterone levels.

While they function similarly overall in terms of providing exogenous testosterone supplementation, their primary difference lies within their route of administration and individual patient preference regarding applicator design.

What is Androgel?

AndroGel is a brand name for testosterone, which is used as a hormone replacement in men who are not able to produce enough of their own testosterone. The body absorbs AndroGel through the skin after it has been applied topically on upper arms and shoulders, specifically. It was first approved by the FDA in 2000. As AndroGel does not carry risks associated with certain other forms of testosterone treatments such as injections (which can lead to fluctuations in mood or physical energy), many find its side-effect profile appealingly mild. Side effects may include more frequent erections, feelings of nervousness or swelling due to fluid retention but importantly, unlike Axiron another popular topical gel, it does not present an increased risk when coming into contact with women and children. Therefore, the ease-of-use and potentially lower risk factors make AndroGel a good choice for those needing testosterone supplementation therapy.

What conditions is Androgel approved to treat?

AndroGel is a commonly prescribed topical gel that's used to treat the symptoms of low testosterone, or "Low T," in men. It has been approved for use by the FDA for conditions such as:

  • Male hypogonadism, a condition where the body doesn't produce enough testosterone
  • Certain types of hormonal imbalances

How does Androgel help with these illnesses?

Testosterone is a hormone that plays vital roles in many processes in the body, affecting muscle mass, fat distribution and red blood cell production. It's also heavily involved in mood regulation and sexual health. Low levels of testosterone have been associated with symptoms such as fatigue, depression, and low sex drive. Androgel works by replacing or supplementing the testosterone that is naturally produced in the body. Its primary function is to restore normal testosterone levels, thereby alleviating some of these symptoms associated with low testosterone levels. Unlike Axiron which is applied under the arm like a deodorant, AndroGel is typically applied to your shoulders or upper arms once a day; it should not be applied to other parts of the body such as your stomach area (abdomen), penis, scrotum etc. Since it does not significantly affect other hormones within the endocrine system just like Axiron does not interfere with estrogen levels for instance, it can sometimes be prescribed when a patient needs focused treatment on specific low-testosterone related conditions.

How effective are both Axiron and Androgel?

Both Axiron and AndroGel have established histories of success in treating patients with low testosterone levels, the condition known as hypogonadism. Both are FDA-approved topical treatments that deliver testosterone transdermally, though they were approved at different times (AndroGel in 2000 and Axiron in 2010). They work by replenishing hormonal levels to alleviate symptoms associated with low testosterone such as fatigue, depression, and decreased sex drive.

The effectiveness of Axiron versus AndroGel was directly studied in a controlled trial; the two drugs exhibited similar efficacy in elevating serum testosterone levels within normal range for most men. In this study, there were no significant differences between patients receiving Axiron or those receiving AndroGel regarding their symptom improvement or safety profiles.

A review on Androgel demonstrated its ability to effectively maintain therapeutic levels of testosterone over a long duration when applied daily. It has an acceptable side effect profile which mainly includes skin irritation at the application site. As one of the first topical gels developed for hypogonadism treatment, it is widely prescribed and extensively studied.

Axiron's unique underarm application can be considered advantageous for some users who prefer this administration method due to ease-of-use or wanting to avoid potential skin-to-skin transfer risk common with traditional gel applications like Androgel. Although data confirming its efficacy compared to oral medications is not as extensive due to its more recent market introduction, multiple studies confirmed that it effectively raises serum testosterone level into normal ranges while exhibiting minimal side effects.

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At what dose is Axiron typically prescribed?

Topical dosages of Axiron usually start at 30 mg/day, but studies have indicated that this dosage is sufficient for treating testosterone deficiency in most people. Adolescents may be started on a lower dose as determined by their physician. In either population, the dosage can be adjusted after a few weeks if there is no response. The maximum dosage that should not be exceeded in any case is 120 mg/day.

On the other hand, AndroGel dosages typically range from 1% to 1.62%, applied topically once daily in the morning to clean, dry skin. A typical starting dose might include one pump actuation (20.25mg) applied to an upper arm and shoulder area or two pump actuations (40.5mg) divided between both upper arms and shoulders; these doses are based on your body's response to therapy and blood testosterone levels.

Remember always follow your doctor's instructions when using these medications for optimal results and minimal side effects.

At what dose is Androgel typically prescribed?

AndroGel treatment is typically initiated at a dosage of 50 mg/day, applied topically. The dose can then be adjusted based on response and blood testosterone levels, up to a maximum of 100 mg/day. This should be divided into two applications, spaced around 12 hours apart for optimal absorption. As with all medication adjustments, the increase in dosage should only occur under the guidance and supervision of your healthcare provider after considering factors such as efficacy and side effects experienced. It's worth noting that if there is no significant improvement or response to AndroGel therapy within a few weeks at the maximum dosage level, further investigation may be warranted.

What are the most common side effects for Axiron?

Common side effects of Axiron and AndroGel, which are both testosterone supplements, include:

  • Skin irritation where the medication is applied
  • Increased red blood cell count (polycythemia)
  • Prostate enlargement symptoms such as increased urination at night or difficulty starting/stopping urine flow
  • Mood swings, including anger or anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Elevated levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a potential indicator of prostate cancer
  • Decreased libido (sex drive)
  • Abnormal ejaculation
  • Infertility due to suppression of sperm production -Swelling in ankles, feet, or body from fluid retention.

Less common but more serious side effects include severe allergic reactions like rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat.

It's important to note that while these medications have similar uses and side effects overall their exact impacts can vary from individual to individual based on their specific health profile. Always discuss with your healthcare provider before deciding on a treatment plan.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Axiron?

Both Axiron and AndroGel are testosterone replacement therapies with similar side effects. However, if you experience any of the following symptoms while using either medication, seek medical attention immediately:

  • Persistent or frequent erections, or feelings of increased aggression
  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as hives, difficulty breathing, swelling in your face or throat
  • Symptoms indicative of a heart condition: shortness of breath even with mild exertion; chest pain or pressure that spreads to the jaw or shoulder; sudden numbness or weakness on one side of your body; slurred speech
  • High levels of calcium in the blood - nausea, vomiting, constipation, increased thirst or urination, muscle weakness
  • Liver problems like jaundice (yellowing skin/eyes), dark urine
  • Swelling in ankles/feet/hands due to fluid retention
    Severe mood swings including depression and anxiety It's also important to note that long-term use can result in urinary issues like frequent urges to urinate and painful urination. Some may also notice changes at the application site such as redness and itching.

What are the most common side effects for Androgel?

Possible side effects of Androgel, a topical testosterone gel, might include:

  • Skin irritation or rash where the gel is applied
  • Mood swings and increased emotional sensitivity
  • Headache or dizziness
  • High blood pressure causing a faster heartbeat
  • Sleep problems (insomnia) or unusual tiredness
  • Nausea, stomach discomfort, loss of appetite
  • Increased urination frequency
  • Development of acne or worsening of existing acne condition
  • Unusual weight gain/loss
    Remember that each individual can react differently to medication and may not experience all listed symptoms. It's crucial to consult with your healthcare provider about any symptoms you're experiencing while using Androgel.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Androgel?

While AndroGel is generally well-tolerated and effective for testosterone replacement therapy, it can occasionally cause serious side effects. Some of these include:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling in your face or throat
  • Mood changes including increased anxiety, depression, hostility or thoughts about hurting yourself
  • Rapid weight gain with swelling in your ankles or feet
  • Increased frequency of erections that are painful or last longer than 4 hours
  • Shortness of breath (even with mild exertion), chest pain or pressure
  • Changes in color vision; sudden severe headache; problems with speech or balance -Nausea, upper stomach pain; loss of appetite and jaundice (yellowing of the skin) If you experience any of the above symptoms while using AndroGel, immediately stop its use and seek medical attention.

Contraindications for Axiron and Androgel?

Both Axiron and AndroGel, like most testosterone replacement therapies, may exacerbate symptoms in individuals with certain health conditions. If you notice an increase in aggression or mood swings, worsening prostate symptoms, or any signs of a heart attack such as chest pain or shortness of breath while using these medications, please seek immediate medical attention.

Neither Axiron nor AndroGel should be used if you have breast cancer (in men), suspected prostate cancer, known hypersensitivity to ingredients in the products (including soy), are pregnant women or those who may become pregnant. Always inform your physician about all medications you're currently taking; this includes prescription drugs as well as over-the-counter medicines and herbal supplements.

Further note that both Axiron and AndroGel can potentially cause increased red blood cell count which could pose a risk for clots leading to stroke; regular check-ups on hematocrit levels are advised when under treatment.

How much do Axiron and Androgel cost?

For the brand name versions of these drugs:

  • A single bottle of Axiron (60 doses, 30 mg each) costs about $550, which works out to approximately $9 per day.
  • Androgel can be a bit pricier. One pump bottle (20.25 mg/gm - 88 gm) averages around $650 and lasts for about a month at the recommended dosage, working out to roughly $22/day.

Thus, if you are in the standard dosage range for either medication, then Axiron is less expensive on a per-day treatment basis. However, it's crucial to understand that cost should not be your primary consideration when determining which of these medications is right for you.

As far as we know currently there are no generic versions available for Axiron or Androgel in America due to patent protection issues; thus their prices remain relatively high compared to most other classes of drugs where generics exist.

Popularity of Axiron and Androgel

Axiron and AndroGel are both topically applied testosterone supplements, primarily used in the treatment of hypogonadism or low testosterone levels. Both medications have similar efficacy and safety profiles.

In 2020, it is estimated that around 1.2 million prescriptions for AndroGel were filled in the United States, accounting for approximately 50% of topical testosterone supplement prescriptions within the country. It seems to be more popular possibly due to its longer presence on the market compared to Axiron.

On the other hand, Axiron was prescribed to about half a million people in USA during the same year. Although less common than AndroGel, it has been steadily increasing in usage since its introduction into medical practice. The unique application site (the underarm), which mirrors that of regular deodorant use might be appealing for some patients over applying gel on upper arms/shoulders as required by Androgel.


Both Axiron (testosterone) and AndroGel (testosterone) have a long-standing record of usage in patients with low testosterone levels, also known as hypogonadism. These drugs are supported by numerous clinical studies and meta-analyses indicating their effectiveness over placebo treatments. Both medications can be used concurrently with other treatments for hypogonadism under careful consideration from a physician, but they should not be used together due to the risk of excessive testosterone intake.

Androgel is often considered the first-line treatment option because it's applied on the upper arms or shoulders only once daily, whereas Axiron is typically prescribed as an alternative when patients do not respond well to AndroGel or if application at those specific sites causes skin irritation.

Both these drugs are available in generic form which represents significant cost savings especially for patients who must pay out of pocket. Effects may not be noticeable right away; both might require an adjustment period where doses could be modified based on blood testosterone levels.

Common side effects between the two include skin reactions at the site of application, increased red blood cell count, headache, diarrhea and vomiting among others. However, severe side effects such as chest pain or discomfort should prompt immediate medical attention. Patients must closely monitor their symptoms while starting either medication and seek help immediately if side effects become severe.