Estrace

Generic Name: Estradiol

  • What is Estrace?

    Estrace is a medicine that contains estrogen hormones. Estrace is available as tablets and as a vaginal cream. Estrace tablets are used after menopause to reduce moderate to severe symptoms of menopause, including "hot flashes" (feelings of warmth in the face, neck, and chest, and sudden intense episodes of heat and sweating). Estrace tablets are also used to help reduce the chance of getting osteoporosis (thin, weak bones) after menopause, to treat certain conditions in women before menopause, as determined by your doctor, and to treat certain cancers in men and women. Estrace tablets and cream are used to treat dryness, itching, and burning in and around the vagina or painful intercourse caused by menopausal changes.

  • What is the most important information I should know about Estrace?

    Estrogens increase your risk of developing cancer of the uterus. Report any unusual vaginal bleeding immediately to your doctor while you are using Estrace.

    Do not use estrogens with or without progestins to prevent heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, or dementia. Using estrogens with or without progestins may increase your risk of heart attacks, strokes, breast cancer, and blood clots. It may also increase your risk of dementia. Talk regularly with your doctor about whether you still need treatment with Estrace.

    If you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, are overweight, or if you use tobacco, you may have a higher risk of heart disease.

    Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to Estrace; this medication may cause dizziness. This effect may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines.

    Estrace may cause dark skin patches (melasma) on your face. Exposure to the sun may make these patches darker and you may need to avoid prolonged sun exposure and sunlamps. Consult your doctor regarding the use of sunscreens and protective clothing.

    Estrace may increase the risk of blood clots. The risk may be greater if you smoke (especially in women >35 years of age).

    Contact your doctor if vaginal discomfort occurs or if you suspect you have developed an infection while taking Estrace.

    If you wear contact lenses and you develop problems with them, contact your doctor.

    Estrace may affect your blood sugar. Check blood sugar levels closely. Ask your doctor before you change the dose of your diabetes medicine.

    While you are using estrogens, it is important to visit your doctor at least once a year for a check-up.

    If you experience any of the following warning signals (or any other unusual symptoms), call your doctor immediately: abnormal bleeding from the vagina; pain in the calves or chest, sudden shortness of breath, or coughing blood; severe headache or vomiting, dizziness, faintness, changes in vision or speech, weakness or numbness of an arm or leg; breast lumps; yellowing of the skin or eyes; or pain, swelling, or tenderness in the abdomen.

  • Who should not take Estrace?

    Do not take Estrace if you have unusual vaginal bleeding that has not been evaluated by your doctor or if you currently have or have had certain cancers. Also, do not take Estrace if you had a stroke or heart attack in the past year; if you currently have or have had liver problems or blood clots; if you are allergic to Estrace and its ingredients; or if you have recently given birth, are breastfeeding, or think you are pregnant.

    If you are going to have surgery or will be on bed rest, you may need to stop taking Estrace.

  • What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Estrace?

    Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Estrace. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you have any heart problems, a family history of breast cancer, yellowing of the whites of the eyes or skin during pregnancy or with past estrogen use, have a vaginal infection or womb problems (uterine fibroids, endometriosis, or other uterine problems), asthma, a certain blood disorder (porphyria), cholesterol or lipid problems, depression, diabetes, excessive weight gain, gallbladder disease, high blood pressure, lupus (disease that affects the immune system), low thyroid hormone levels, migraine headaches, pancreas disease, seizures, if you smoke, currently have or have had kidney or liver problems, and if you will be having surgery. In addition, tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.

    Moderate to Severe Symptoms of Menopause

    Adults: The usual dose is 1-2 milligrams (mg) daily of Estrace tablets. Administration should be cyclic (for example, three weeks on and one week off). The usual dose is 2-4 grams (g) daily of Estrace cream for 1 or 2 weeks, followed by half the dose for a similar time period.

    Estrace is approved for several other conditions. Your doctor will prescribe the appropriate dosage for you based on your condition.

  • How should I take Estrace?

    Take the dose prescribed to you by your doctor. Follow-up with the doctor to see how well that dose is working for you. You should see your doctor every 3-6 months to reevaluate dosing.

    While you are using estrogens, it is important to visit your doctor at least once a year for a check-up.

    Estrace tablets: Take Estrace tablets by mouth with or without food. If stomach upset occurs, take with food to reduce the stomach irritation.

    Estrace vaginal cream: See the instructions in the "Information for the Patient" that accompanied your Estrace prescription. To cleanse the applicator, pull the plunger to remove it from the barrel, then wash with mild soap and warm water. Do not boil or use hot water.

  • What should I avoid while taking Estrace?

    Do not miss your doctor appointments as they are important in evaluating your therapy. Also, do not miss or increase your dose of Estrace without consulting with your doctor. Avoid giving Estrace to other people.

    Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to Estrace; this medication may cause dizziness.

    Limit alcoholic beverages while you are taking Estrace. Avoid prolonged sun exposure and sunlamps. Estrace may cause dark skin patches on your face.

    Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may increase the risk of this drug's side effects. Talk to your doctor before including grapefruit or grapefruit juice into your diet while you are taking Estrace.

  • What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Estrace?

    If Estrace is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Estrace with the following: clarithromycin, ginseng, itraconazole, ketoconazole, levothyroxine, licorice, phenobarbital, phenytoin, prednisone, rifampin, St. John's wort, succinylcholine, tacrine, tipranavir, and warfarin.

  • What are the possible side effects of Estrace?

    Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.

    Side effects may include: headache, breast pain, spotting or breakthrough bleeding, abdominal cramps/bloating, nausea, vomiting, hair loss, darkening of skin, fluid retention, high blood pressure, back pain, dark urine, depression, dizziness, fainting, memory problems, mental or mood changes, muscle pain, painful or difficult urination

  • Can I receive Estrace if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    You should not use Estrace if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding due to the potential harm to the baby.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Estrace?

    If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember with food. If it is close to the time of your next dose, skip it and resume your scheduled dose. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store Estrace?

    Store Estrace tablets and cream at room temperature. Store Estrace tablets in a tight, light-resistant container.

Meet the Pharmacists

I'm Beth Isaac, PharmD. Welcome to PDR Health!

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