GENERIC NAME: conjugated estrogens
BRAND NAME: Premarin
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Estrogens are one of the two major classes of female hormones. (Progestins comprise the second major class). Estrogens are used primarily to treat the symptoms of menopause and states in which there is a deficiency of estrogen, for example, in women who have had their ovaries removed. Conjugated estrogens are a mixture of several different estrogens (estrogen salts) that are derived from natural sources and blended to approximate the composition of estrogens in the urine of pregnant horses. The main components are sodium estrone sulphate and sodium equilin sulfate.
Estrogens have widespread effects on many tissues in the body. Estrogens cause growth and development of the female sexual organs and maintain female sexual characteristics such as the growth of underarm and pubic hair, body contours, and skeleton. Estrogens also increase secretions from the cervix and growth of the inner lining of the uterus (endometrium).
PRESCRIBED FOR: Conjugated estrogens are used for treating the symptoms of menopause including hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and vaginal atrophy. If used solely for treating vaginal dryness and vaginal atrophy, the cream is preferred. They also are used as therapy when the body does not produce enough estrogen due to female castration (removal of the ovaries), ovarian failure or underdevelopment of hormone-secreting organs (hypogonadism).
Conjugated estrogens also are used for treating advanced prostate cancer in selected men and women with metastatic breast cancer. Although estrogens are approved for preventing osteoporosis, other non-estrogen medications are preferred for this purpose. Intravenous conjugated estrogens are used for treating abnormal uterine bleeding due to hormonal imbalance.
Quick GuideMenopause & Perimenopause: Symptoms, Signs
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