Compare Fortesta vs. Marinol

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.


Fortesta (testosterone)

Prescription only

Marinol (dronabinol)

Prescription only
Treats low testosterone.

Fortesta (testosterone) is a convenient topical form of testosterone hormone replacement, but it can be spread to another person if skin-to-skin contact occurs.

Treats appetite loss and nausea.

Marinol (dronabinol) can help with appetite stimulation and nausea/vomiting; however, there are other medicines available that might work better and have less side effects.

  • Fortesta (testosterone) is an effective and convenient form of testosterone.
  • It is easily used. You apply it to your thighs like a lotion.
  • Putting Fortesta (testosterone) on your thighs makes it less likely that you'll transfer the medication to other people around you.
  • Fortesta (testosterone) is available as a cheaper generic form.
  • The appetite stimulating effects of Marinol (dronabinol) can last up to 5 months.
  • Marinol (dronabinol) is available in cheaper, generic form.
  • Can also improve mood and body weight in some people.
  • You have to wait at least 2 hours after applying Fortesta (testosterone) before you can swim or bathe, otherwise your body won't absorb the full amount of the medication.
  • Fortesta (testosterone) does not need to be dose adjusted if you have liver or kidney problems.
  • Adults age 65 or older might be more sensitive to the side effects of Marinol (dronabinol), especially mental/physical ability impairment, psychological changes, and blood pressure changes.
  • This medicine might actually worsen nausea/vomiting or cause stomach pain. If this happens, your doctor can change your dose or stop the medicine.
  • Can cause dry mouth and effect your dental health, so maintain good dental hygiene.
  • Can help with appetite stimulation, but does not stimulate weight gain.
Used for
  • Hypogonadism
  • Treatment of appetite and weight loss in people with AIDS
  • Treatment of nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy
  • Treatment and prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting
Dosage forms
  • Gel
  • Pill
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Side effects
1possible side effects
  • Skin reaction
See more detailed side effects
The Marinol (dronabinol) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • Virilization from secondary exposure
  • Blood clots
  • Swelling in the legs
    • Heart disease
    • Liver disease
    • Kidney disease
  • Elevated red blood cell count
  • High calcium in the blood
    • History of cancer
  • Flammability
    • Smoking
    • Exposure to fire or flames
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Impairment of mental or physical abilities
    • Taking other medicines that cause drowsiness, dizziness, or confusion
  • Seizures
    • History of seizures
  • Heart and blood vessel changes
    • History of heart problems
    • Used with other medicines that have similar effects on the heart and blood vessels
  • Substance abuse
    • History of subastance abuse
    • History of alcohol dependence
  • Hypersensitivity (allergic) reaction
  • Mood and behavior changes
    • History of mental illness
See more detailed risks and warnings