Worsening of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) and Potential Risk of Prostate Cancer
- Patients with BPH treated with androgens are at an increased risk for worsening of signs and symptoms of BPH. Monitor patients with BPH for worsening signs and symptoms.
- Patients treated with androgens may be at increased risk for prostate cancer. Evaluation of patients for prostate cancer prior to initiating and during treatment with androgens is appropriate [see CONTRAINDICATIONS].
Potential for Secondary Exposure to Testosterone
Cases of secondary exposure resulting in virilization of children have been reported in postmarketing surveillance of testosterone gel products. Signs and symptoms have included enlargement of the penis or clitoris, development of pubic hair, increased erections and libido, aggressive behavior, and advanced bone age. In most cases, these signs and symptoms regressed with removal of the exposure to testosterone gel. In a few cases, however, enlarged >genitalia did not fully return to age-appropriate normal size, and bone age remained modestly greater than chronological age. The risk of transfer was increased in some of these cases by not adhering to precautions for the appropriate use of the topical testosterone product. Children and women should avoid contact with unwashed or unclothed application sites in men using AndroGel 1.62% [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, Use In Specific Populations and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Inappropriate changes in genital size or development of pubic hair or libido in children, or changes in body hair distribution, significant increase in acne, or other signs of virilization in adult women should be brought to the attention of a physician and the possibility of secondary exposure to testosterone gel should also be brought to the attention of a physician. Testosterone gel should be promptly discontinued until the cause of virilization has been identified.
Increases in hematocrit, reflective of increases in red blood cell mass, may require lowering or discontinuation of testosterone. Check hematocrit prior to initiating treatment. It would also be appropriate to re-evaluate the hematocrit 3 to 6 months after starting treatment, and then annually. If hematocrit becomes elevated, stop therapy until hematocrit decreases to an acceptable concentration. An increase in red blood cell mass may increase the risk of thromboembolic events.
Use in Women
Due to the lack of controlled evaluations in women and potential virilizing effects, AndroGel 1.62% is not indicated for use in women [see CONTRAINDICATIONS and Use In Specific Populations].
Potential for Adverse Effects on Spermatogenesis
With large doses of exogenous androgens, including AndroGel 1.62%, spermatogenesis may be suppressed through feedback inhibition of pituitary FSH possibly leading to adverse effects on semen parameters including sperm count.
Hepatic Adverse Effects
Prolonged use of high doses of orally active 17-alpha-alkyl androgens (e.g., methyltestosterone) has been associated with serious hepatic adverse effects (peliosis hepatis, hepatic neoplasms, cholestatic hepatitis, and jaundice). Peliosis hepatis can be a life-threatening or fatal complication. Long-term therapy with intramuscular testosterone enanthate has produced multiple hepatic adenomas. AndroGel 1.62% is not known to cause these adverse effects.
Androgens, including AndroGel 1.62%, may promote retention of sodium and water. Edema, with or without congestive heart failure, may be a serious complication in patients with preexisting cardiac, renal, or hepatic disease [see ADVERSE REACTIONS].
Changes in serum lipid profile may require dose adjustment or discontinuation of testosterone therapy.
Androgens, including AndroGel 1.62 %, should be used with caution in cancer patients at risk of hypercalcemia (and associated hypercalciuria). Regular monitoring of serum calcium concentrations is recommended in these patients.
Decreased Thyroxine-binding globulin
Androgens, including AndroGel 1.62%, may decrease concentrations of thyroxin-binding globulins, resulting in decreased total T4 serum concentrations and increased resin uptake of T3 and T4. Free thyroid hormone concentrations remain unchanged, however, and there is no clinical evidence of thyroid dysfunction.
Alcohol based products, including AndroGel 1.62%, are flammable; therefore, patients should be advised to avoid fire, flame or smoking until the AndroGel 162% has dried.
Patient Counseling Information
“See FDA-approved patient labeling (Medication Guide)”
Patients should be informed of the following:
Use in Men with Known or Suspected Prostate or Breast Cancer
Potential for Secondary Exposure to Testosterone and Steps to Prevent Secondary Exposure
Secondary exposure to testosterone in children and women can occur with the use of testosterone gel in men. Cases of secondary exposure to testosterone have been reported in children.
Physicians should advise patients of the reported signs and symptoms of secondary exposure, which may include the following:
- In children: unexpected sexual development including inappropriate enlargement of the penis or clitoris, premature development of pubic hair, increased erections, and aggressive behavior.
- In women:changes in hair distribution, increase in acne, or other signs of testosterone effects.
- The possibility of secondary exposure to testosterone gel should be brought to the attention of a healthcare provider.
- AndroGel 1.62% should be promptly discontinued until the cause of virilization is identified.
Strict adherence to the following precautions is advised to minimize the potential for secondary exposure to testosterone from AndroGel 1.62% in men [see Medication Guide]:
- Children and women should avoid contact with unwashed or unclothed application site(s) of men using AndroGel 1.62%.
- Patients using AndroGel 1.62% should apply the product as directed and strictly
adhere to the following:
- Wash hands with soap and water immediately after application.
- Cover the application site(s) with clothing after the gel has dried.
- Wash the application site(s) thoroughly with soap and water prior to any situation where skin-to-skin contact of the application site with another person is anticipated.
- In the event that unwashed or unclothed skin to which AndroGel 1.62%.has been applied comes in contact with the skin of another person, the general area of contact on the other person should be washed with soap and water as soon as possible [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Potential Adverse Reactions with Androgens
Patients should be informed that treatment with androgens may lead to adverse reactions which include:
- Changes in urinary habits such as increased urination at night, trouble starting the urine stream, passing urine many times during the day, having an urge to go to the bathroom right away, having a urine accident, being unable to pass urine and weak urine flow.
- Breathing disturbances, including those associated with sleep, or excessive daytime sleepiness.
- Too frequent or persistent erections of the penis.
- Nausea, vomiting, changes in skin color, or ankle swelling.
Patients Should Be Advised of the Following Instructions for Use
- Read the Medication Guide before starting AndroGel 1.62% therapy and to reread it each time the prescription is renewed.
- AndroGel 1.62% should be applied and used appropriately to maximize the benefits and to minimize the risk of secondary exposure in children and women.
- Keep AndroGel 1.62% out of the reach of children.
- AndroGel 1.62% is an alcohol based product and is flammable; therefore avoid fire, flame or smoking until the gel has dried.
- It is important to adhere to all recommended monitoring.
- Report any changes in their state of health, such as changes in urinary habits, breathing, sleep, and mood.
- AndroGel 1.62% is prescribed to meet the patient's specific needs; therefore, the patient should never share AndroGel 1.62% with anyone.
- Wait 2 hours before swimming or washing following application of AndroGel 1.62%. This will ensure that the greatest amount of AndroGel 1.62% is absorbed into their system.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
Testosterone has been tested by subcutaneous injection and implantation in mice and rats. In mice, the implant induced cervical-uterine tumors which metastasized in some cases. There is suggestive evidence that injection of testosterone into some strains of female mice increases their susceptibility to hepatoma. Testosterone is also known to increase the number of tumors and decrease the degree of differentiation of chemically induced carcinomas of the liver in rats. Testosterone was negative in the in vitro Ames and in the in vivo mouse micronucleus assays. The administration of exogenous testosterone has been reported to suppress spermatogenesis in the rat, dog and no-human primates, which was reversible on cessation of the treatment.
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category X [see CONTRAINDICATIONS]: AndroGel 1.62% is contraindicated during pregnancy or in women who may become pregnant. Testosterone is teratogenic and may cause fetal harm. Exposure of a fetus to androgens may result in varying degrees of virilization. If this drug is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, the patient should be made aware of the potential hazard to the fetus.
Although it is not known how much testosterone transfers into human milk, AndroGel 1.62% is contraindicated in nursing women because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants. Testosterone and other androgens may adversely affect lactation [see CONTRAINDICATIONS].
The safety and effectiveness of AndroGel 1.62% in pediatric patients < 18 years old has not been established. Improper use may result in acceleration of bone age and premature closure of epiphyses.
There have not been sufficient numbers of geriatric patients involved in controlled clinical studies utilizing AndroGel 1.62% to determine whether efficacy in those over 65 years of age differs from younger subjects. Of the 234 patients enrolled in the clinical trial utilizing AndroGel 1.62%, 21 were over 65 years of age. Additionally, there is insufficient long-term safety data in geriatric patients to assess the potentially increased risks of cardiovascular disease and prostate cancer.
Geriatric patients treated with androgens may also be at risk for worsening of signs and symptoms of BPH.
No studies were conducted involving patients with renal impairment.
No studies were conducted in patients with hepatic impairment.
Last reviewed on RxList: 6/8/2011
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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