estradiol, Alora; Climara; Delestrogen; Depo-Estradiol; Divigel; Elestrin; Estrace; and Others
Eni Williams, PharmD, PhD
Eni Williams, PharmD, PhD
Dr. Eni Williams graduated from Creighton University in 1988 with a B.S. degree in pharmacy and a Doctor of Pharmacy from Howard University in 1994. She also obtained a Ph.D. in Public Policy in 2009 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Medical and Pharmacy Editor:
GENERIC NAME: estradiol
BRAND NAME : Alora; Climara; Delestrogen; Depo-Estradiol; Divigel; Elestrin; Estrace; Estrasorb; Estrogel; Evamist; Femring; Menostar; Minivelle; Vivelle; Vivelle-Dot
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Estrogen is one of the major female hormones, the other one being progesterone. Estrogens occur in nature in several chemical forms. In women with active menstrual cycles, the ovaries produce between 70 and 500 micrograms of estradiol daily. This is converted to estrone and to a lesser extent estriol. After menopause, estrone made in the adrenal glands, is the most active circulating estrogen. Estrogens cause growth and development of female sex organs and maintain sex characteristics, including underarm and pubic hair and the shape of body contours and skeleton. Estrogens also increase secretions from the cervix and growth of the inner lining of the uterus (endometrium). Estrogens reduce LDL-cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol) and increase HDL-cholesterol ("good" cholesterol) concentrations in the blood. Estrogens, when taken alone or in combination with a progestin (progesterone), have been shown to reduce the risk for hip fracture due to osteoporosis by 25%.
GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes
PREPARATIONS: Estradiol is available in several forms.
STORAGE: All forms of estradiol should be stored between 15 C (59 F) and 30 C (86 F).
PRESCRIBED FOR: Estradiol is prescribed for symptomatic treatment of the usual symptoms associated with menopause (hot flashes, vaginal burning or dryness, etc.). Prevention of bone fractures associated with osteoporosis, and dysfunctional (excessive and painful) uterine bleeding. The vaginal cream is prescribed for vaginal or vulvar atrophy associated with menopause. Estradiol also is prescribed for breast cancer and, in some cases prostate cancer.
DOSING: The dose of estradiol can vary depending on the condition that is being treated. Estradiol tablets are given daily or they can be prescribed to be taken in a cyclic regimen, wherein estradiol is given daily for 3 weeks followed by 1 week of no medication, after which the cycle resumes. The tablets can also be given more than once a day for some conditions. The topical gel or the topical emulsions are applied to the skin daily at the same time. The vaginal ring is inserted in the vagina and left without removal for 3 months at a time. The intramuscular dose and the frequency it is given can differ depending on the product.
The adhesive part of patches should be applied to a dry, hairless, clean part of the trunk, but not on the breasts. It should not be placed onto irritated or damaged skin. Sites of application should be rotated, with at least one week between repeated applications to any one site. The patch should be applied immediately after removing the protective layer, and pressure should be applied to the patch when it is attached for about 10 seconds.
DRUG INTERACTIONS: Estrogens can inhibit the metabolism of cyclosporine, resulting in increased cyclosporine blood levels. Such increased blood levels can result in kidney and/or liver damage. If this combination cannot be avoided, cyclosporine concentrations can be monitored, and the dose of cyclosporine can be adjusted to assure that its blood levels are not elevated.
Estrogens appear to increase the risk of liver disease in patients receiving dantrolene through an unknown mechanism. Women over 35 years of age and those with a history of liver disease are especially at risk. Estrogens increase the liver's ability to manufacture clotting factors. Because of this, patients receiving warfarin (Coumadin) need to be monitored for loss of anticoagulant (blood thinning) effect if an estrogen is added when warfarin is already being taken.
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