Commonly Used Brand Name(s)Activella, Alesse, Alesse-28, Angeliq, Cyclessa, Estinyl, Femtrace, Feostat, Hemocyte, Loestrin 1/20, Loestrin 1.5/30, Mircette, Necon, Ortho-Novum, Premphase, Prempro
Estrogens and progestins are female hormones. They are produced by the body and are necessary for the normal sexual development of the female and for the regulation of the menstrual cycle during the childbearing years.
The ovaries begin to produce less estrogen after menopause (the change of life). This medicine is prescribed to make up for the lower amount of estrogen. Estrogens help relieve signs of menopause, such as hot flashes and unusual sweating, chills, faintness, or dizziness. Progestins help to regulate the effects of estrogens.
Estrogens are prescribed for several reasons:
- to provide additional hormone when the body does not produce enough of its own, such as during menopause. They can also help to relieve a genital skin condition called vaginal or vulvar atrophy.
- to help prevent weakening of bones (osteoporosis) in women past menopause.
Estrogens may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
There is no medical evidence to support the belief that the use of estrogens will keep the patient feeling young, keep the skin soft, or delay the appearance of wrinkles. Nor has it been proven that the use of estrogens during menopause will relieve emotional and nervous symptoms, unless these symptoms are caused by other menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes or hot flushes.
Estrogens and progestins are available only with your doctor's prescription.
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Estrogens and progestins usually come with patient information or directions. Read them carefully before taking this medicine.
Take this medicine only as directed by your doctor. Do not take more of it and do not take or use it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. Try to take the medicine at the same time each day to reduce the possibility of side effects and to allow it to work better.
For patients taking estrogens and progestins by mouth:
The dose medicines in this class will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of these medicines. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For oral dosage forms (tablets):
- For treating a genital skin condition (vaginal or vulvar atrophy), or vasomotor symptoms of menopause:
- To prevent loss of bone (osteoporosis):
For 17 beta-estradiol and norgestimate
- For oral dosage forms (tablets):
- For oral dosage forms (tablets):
If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
Use & StorageTOP
Keep out of the reach of children.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to medicines in this group or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information comparing use of estrogens and progestins in the elderly with use in other age groups.
Estrogens and progestins are not recommended for use during pregnancy or right after giving birth. Becoming pregnant or maintaining a pregnancy is not likely to occur around the time of menopause.
Estrogens and progestins pass into the breast milk and can change the content or lower the amount of breast milk. Use of this medicine is not recommended in nursing mothers.
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking any of these medicines, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using medicines in this class with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with a medication in this class or change some of the other medicines you take.
Using medicines in this class with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Paclitaxel Protein-Bound
- St John's Wort
- Valproic Acid
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other Medical ProblemsTOP
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of medicines in this class. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Asthma or
- Calcium, too much or too little in blood or
- Diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes)
- Epilepsy (seizures) or
- Heart problems or
- Kidney problems or
- Liver tumors, benign or
- Lupus erythematosus, systemic or
- Migraine headaches or
- Porphyria—Estrogens may worsen these conditions.
- Blood clotting problems (or history of during previous estrogen therapy)—Estrogens usually are not used until blood clotting problems stop; using estrogens is not a problem for most patients without a history of blood clotting problems due to estrogen use.
- Breast cancer or
- Bone cancer or
- Cancer of the uterus or
- Fibroid tumors of the uterus—Estrogens may interfere with the treatment of breast or bone cancer or worsen cancer of the uterus when these conditions are present.
- Changes in genital or vaginal bleeding of unknown causes—Use of estrogens may delay diagnosis or worsen condition. The reason for the bleeding should be determined before estrogens are used.
- Endometriosis or
- Gallbladder disease or gallstones (or history of) or
- High cholesterol or triglycerides (or history of) or
- Liver disease or
- Pancreatitis (inflammation of pancreas)—Estrogens may worsen these conditions; while estrogens can improve blood cholesterol, they may worsen blood triglycerides for some people.
- Hypothyroid (too little thyroid hormone)—Dose of thyroid medicine may need to be increased.
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure this medicine does not cause unwanted effects. These visits will usually be every year, but some doctors require them more often.
It is not yet known whether the use of estrogens increases the risk of breast cancer in women. Therefore, it is very important that you regularly check your breasts for any unusual lumps or discharge. Report any problems to your doctor. You should also have a mammogram (x-ray pictures of the breasts) done if your doctor recommends it. Because breast cancer has occurred in men taking estrogens, regular breast self-exams and exams by your doctor for any unusual lumps or discharge should be done.
Tell the doctor in charge that you are taking this medicine before having any laboratory test because some results may be affected.