A: Androderm comes in the form of a transdermal patch and is used for testosterone replacement therapy in patients who have insufficient levels of testosterone. Testosterone is a hormone produced in the body that plays a key role in many physiological processes in men. In some men, however, the body does not produce enough of the hormone, resulting in a variety of symptoms including decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, muscle loss, anemia and depression, among others. Androderm helps treat these symptoms and raise low testosterone levels by delivering therapeutic amounts of the hormone, which are absorbed through the skin. According to the prescribing information for Androderm, depression was a reported side effect of the medication. Other common side effects of Androderm include itching and redness at the application site, prostate abnormalities, headache, and burning or hardening of the skin at the application site. Less common side effects of Androderm include reduced libido (sex drive), fatigue, high blood pressure, anxiety, confusion, increased appetite, and body pain. For more specific information, consult with your doctor for guidance based on your health status and current medications, particularly before taking any action. Your physician can determine if your dosage of the medication needs to be adjusted or if an alternative medication should be considered. Lori Poulin, PharmD


There is an increased incidence of hypogonadism in men with rheumatoid arthritis. Tengstrand et al (2002) studied hormonal levels in 104 men with rheumatoid arthritis and 99 age-matched healthy men. They divided their subjects into 3 age groups: 30–49, 40–59, 60–69. Mean non-sex hormone binding globulin-bound testosterone (bioavailable testosterone) was lower in men with rheumatoid arthritis for each of the three groups. LH was also found to be lower in the patients with rheumatoid arthritis suggesting a hypothalamic-pituitary cause of the reduced bioavailable testosterone. Of the 104 men with rheumatoid arthritis, 33 had hypogonadism compared to 7 of the 99 healthy controls.
Male hypogonadism becomes more common with increasing age and is currently an under-treated condition. The diagnosis of hypogonadism in the aging male requires a combination of symptoms and low serum testosterone levels. The currently available testosterone preparations can produce consistent physiological testosterone levels and provide for patient preference.
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Insulin causes lower Testosterone levels, so go easy on the carbs and eat more protein right? Well you need to be careful with protein consumption – Excess protein without fat can also cause insulin spikes. So go easy on that chicken breast with a side of egg white omelets washed down with a protein shake. From an insulin point of view you may as well drink a can of soda with some aminos acid! So what should you do? Eat more fat.
Overall, few patients have a compelling contraindication to testosterone treatment. The majority of men with late onset hypogonadism can be safely treated with testosterone but all will require monitoring of prostate parameters HDL cholesterol, hematocrit and psychological state. It is also wise to monitor symptoms of sleep apnea. Other specific concerns may be raised by the mode of delivery such as local side effects from transdermal testosterone.

When you're under a lot of stress, your body releases high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone actually blocks the effects of testosterone,6 presumably because, from a biological standpoint, testosterone-associated behaviors (mating, competing, aggression) may have lowered your chances of survival in an emergency (hence, the "fight or flight" response is dominant, courtesy of cortisol).

Dobs and colleagues found that men with an increased body mass index had both reduced testosterone and reduced high density lipoprotein (HDL) levels. Treatment with testosterone increased the levels of HDL (Dobs et al 2001). Rising levels of HDL are not a consistent finding with TRT. More often, however, one finds reduced total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglyceride levels with TRT (Zgliczynski et al 1996; Whitsel et al 2001).

Some of these signs and symptoms can be caused by various underlying factors, including medication side effects, obstructive sleep apnea, thyroid problems, diabetes and depression. It's also possible that these conditions may be the cause of low testosterone levels, and treatment of these problems may cause testosterone levels to rise. A blood test is the only way to diagnose a low testosterone level.
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