Axiron vs. Androgel comparison

The active ingredient in both Axiron and Androgel is synthetic testosterone, and both medications consist of topical gel that allows the testosterone to absorb through the skin. Doctors prescribe these drugs
to adult males who for some reason, whether a physical condition or a result of aging, are lacking normal testosterone levels.

The only difference between these two gel medications is where on your body you’re supposed to put it. Axiron gel is applied in the armpits, while Androgel is applied to the upper arm, shoulders, or abdomen.

The main side effect of both these medications are itching, blisters, and redness at the application site.

What are Axiron and Androgel?

Both Axiron and Androgel are skin ointments that deliver laboratory-manufactured testosterone through the skin. Pharmaceutical researchers developed this therapy in part because testosterone production in men tends to decline as they age, causing muscle loss, bone weakness, loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, and fat accumulation. Scientists sometimes refer to this slowdown in testosterone production as “andropause,” but physiologically, it’s only superficially similar to menopause in women, which is a much more drastic hormonal change.

Testosterone (also referred to as an “androgen”) production in men starts ramping up during puberty, and testosterone production by the testes is the end hormonal result of a production chain involving the brain and endocrine system. The hypothalamus of the brain,
a structure behind the base of the forebrain, secretes gonadotropin-releasing hormone, which stimulates the nearby pituitary gland to release luteinizing hormone, which then stimulates the testicles to produce testosterone.

Testosterone, a lipid-soluble
(fat-soluble) hormone, can pass through the membranes of cells because cell membranes are made of fats. Inside the cell, floating around in the cytoplasm, are protein molecules called androgen receptors (AR), which are shaped in such a way they fit like a puzzle piece with testosterone molecules. When a testosterone molecule locks into the androgen receptor, the whole assembly migrates into the cell nucleus where the DNA is stored. The testosterone-AR assembly interacts directly with the DNA to help the cell “read” the code, allowing it to produce the necessary proteins to maintain muscle mass, hair growth, genital function and other male sex characteristics.

Axiron and Androgel help replace the missing testosterone to help maintain mood, sexual function, muscle mass, and bone strength.

What are the uses for Axiron and Androgel?

Axiron and Androgel are both testosterone replacement products used for men 18 years old or older for treatment of low testosterone (low T) or absence of testosterone due to primary hypogonadism or hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. It is most often used for treatment of a slowdown in testosterone production in aging men.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/19/2017

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