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Why is this medication prescribed?
Estrogen is a hormone, a substance produced by the body. It is needed for normal growth and development of female sex organs and for functions such as bearing children. During menopause, the body's production of estrogen is decreased. Estrogen replacement is used for symptoms associated with menopause: hot flashes (feelings of warmth in the face, neck, and chest), sweating, sleep disturbance, vaginal discomfort (dryness and itchiness), poor concentration, and irritability. It also is used in the treatment of breast cancer in postmenopausal women and breast and prostate cancer in men.
Estrogen is also used with diet, calcium supplements, and exercise to slow the progression of osteoporosis, a disease common in women after menopause resulting in bones that break easily.
How should this medicine be used?
Estrogen comes as a tablet to take by mouth, patches to apply externally to the skin, and as a cream to be inserted into the vagina.
Oral estrogen is usually taken by mouth with food or milk either every day or on a cyclical basis: once a day for 21 days and then none for 7 days; then the cycle is repeated. However, for treating cancer it usually is taken three times a day every day for at least 3 months.
Skin patches are usually applied either once or twice weekly for three weeks (on the same days each week), followed by 1 week without the drug (patch); then the cycle is repeated. The package is designed to help you remember when to apply fresh skin patches.
To apply a skin patch, follow the directions provided and these steps:
Remove and discard the patch and apply a fresh patch according to the schedule prescribed by your doctor. To prevent skin irritation, use a different site for each application and wait at least 1 week before using a particular area again. Used patches should be cut up and disposed in a way that keeps them out of reach of children and pets.
To use the vaginal cream, your doctor will set up a dosage schedule for you. If you are to use it once a day, it is best to use it at bedtime. Follow the directions that come with the vaginal cream and these steps:
Ask your pharmacist or doctor any questions you have about using the vaginal cream. You may wish to wear a sanitary napkin after inserting the cream to keep your clothes clean.
Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take estrogen exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor. Do not stop taking estrogen without talking to your doctor.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer's information for the patient.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking estrogen,
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Follow all dietary and exercise recommendations, including those regarding calcium supplements, if you are taking estrogen to treat osteoporosis.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
If you forget to apply a skin patch, apply it as soon as you remember; note the date on the package, and adjust your schedule. If you miss a dose of tablets or vaginal cream, take it (or apply it) as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Estrogen may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
Some side effects may be serious. The following symptoms are uncommon, but if you experience any of them or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:
Estrogen may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Do not remove skin patches from their protective pouches until just before applying them. Discard patches by cutting them into pieces and disposing of them in a way that keeps them out of reach of children and pets. Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. You should have a complete physical examination, including blood pressure measurements, breast and pelvic exams, and a Pap test at least yearly. Follow your doctor's directions for examining your breasts; report any lumps immediately.
Before you have any laboratory tests, tell the laboratory personnel that you take estrogen, because this medication may interfere with some laboratory tests.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT