EstroGel

Generic Name: Estradiol

  • What is EstroGel?

    EstroGel is used to ease some symptoms of menopause, such as moderate to severe hot flashes (feelings of warmth in the face, neck, and chest, or sudden strong feelings of heat and sweating) and burning, dryness, and itching in or around the vagina. EstroGel is applied to the skin and absorbed into the bloodstream.

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

    Estrogens, such as those found in EstroGel, increase the risk for developing cancer of the uterus. Contact your doctor if any unusual vaginal bleeding occurs. Vaginal bleeding after menopause may be a sign of cancer of the uterus.

    Do not use estrogens with or without progestins to prevent heart disease, heart attack, stroke, or dementia. Using estrogens with or without progestins may increase your risk for heart attack, strokes, breast cancer and blood clots. Using estrogens, with or without progestins, may increase your risk of dementia, based on a study of women age ≥65. You and your healthcare provider should talk regularly about whether you still need treatment with EstroGel.

  • Who should not take EstroGel?

    Do not begin therapy with EstroGel if you have unusual vaginal bleeding that has not been evaluated by your doctor.

    Do not take EstroGel if you currently have or have had certain cancers (eg, breast or uterine); if you had a stroke or heart attack in the past year; if you currently have or have had liver problems or blood clots.

    Do not take EstroGel if you think you may be pregnant. Also, do not take EstroGel if you are allergic to any of its ingredients.

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

    Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with EstroGel. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you have asthma (wheezing), epilepsy (seizures), migraine, endometriosis, lupus, problems with your heart, liver, thyroid, or kidneys, or high calcium levels in your blood.

    In addition, tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding, are going to have surgery, or will be on bedrest.

  • 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.

    Adults: The usual dosage of EstroGel is 1.25 grams (g), or 1 pump, applied to the arm once per day.

  • How should I take EstroGel?

    EstroGel is for external use only. Do not get it in your eyes, nose, vagina, or mouth. If you get it in any of these areas, rinse right away with warm clean water.

    EstroGel's pump must be primed only the first time it is used. Remove the large pump cover and completely depress the pump. (Fully depress the pump twice for the 93-gram pump or three times for the 50-gram pump and the 25-gram pump.) Discard the unused gel by thoroughly rinsing it down the sink or placing it in the household trash in a manner that avoids accidental exposure or ingestion by household members or pets.

    After priming, the pump is ready to use. One complete pump depression will dispense the same amount of EstroGel each time.

    Apply EstroGel at the same time each day.

    Apply your daily dose of gel to clean, dry, unbroken skin. If you take a bath, shower, or use a sauna, apply your EstroGel dose following these activities. If you go swimming, try to leave as much time as possible between applying your EstroGel dose and going swimming.

    To apply, collect the gel into the palm of your hand by pressing the pump firmly and fully with one fluid motion without hesitation. Apply the gel to one arm using your hand. Spread the gel as thinly as possible over the entire area on the inside and outside of your arm from wrist to shoulder.

    Always place the small protective cap back on the tip of the pump and the large pump cover over the top of the pump after each use.

    Wash your hands with soap and water after applying the gel to reduce the chance that the medicine will spread from your hands to other people.

    It is not necessary to massage or rub in EstroGel. Simply allow the gel to dry for up to 5 minutes before dressing.

    Do not allow others to apply the gel for you.

  • What should I avoid while taking EstroGel?

    It is important that you do not spread the medicine to others, especially men and children. Be sure to wash your hands after applying EstroGel. Do not allow others to make contact with the area of skin where you applied the gel for at least 1 hour after application. Alcohol-based gels are flammable. Avoid fire, flame or smoking until the gel has dried.

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

    If EstroGel 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 EstroGel with the following: carbamazepine, clarithromycin, erythromycin, grapefruit juice, itraconazole, ketoconazole, phenobarbital, rifampin, ritonavir, and St. John's wort.

  • What are the possible side effects of EstroGel?

    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: bloating, breast pain, hair loss, headache, irregular vaginal bleeding or spotting, nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting

    Serious side effects may include: breast lumps, changes in speech and vision, chest pain, dizziness, faintness, leg pain, severe headache, shortness of breath, unusual vaginal bleeding, vomiting

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

    You should not use EstroGel if you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant due to potential harm to the baby.

    If you are or will be breastfeeding while using EstroGel, check with your doctor to discuss any possible risks to your baby.

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

    If you miss a dose, do not double the dose on the next day. If your next dose is less than 12 hours away, it is best just to wait and apply your normal dose the next day. If it is more than 12 hours until the next dose, apply the dose you missed and resume your normal dosing the next day.

  • How should I store EstroGel?

    Store EstroGel at room temperature with the cap secured. Do not use after the expiration date printed on the pump.

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

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