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Estradiol is in a class of drugs called estrogen hormones. It works by replacing the estrogen that the body normally produces.
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What is Estradiol?
Estradiol is a type of estrogen, a female sex hormone produced by the ovaries. It is required for several processes in the body. When it is not produced in sufficient quantities in the body (for example: in postmenopausal women), then it has to be taken in the form of medication. Estradiol is sold as medication under various trade names, some of which are Estrace, Climara and Climara Forte (made by Bayer Schering Pharma), Vagifem (Novo – Nordisk, Denmark), E2 (Sun Pharma), Progynon Depot (made by Cadila Healthcare), and Progynova (German Remedies (India)). This medication is available in several forms such as tablets, vaginal cream, vaginal tabs, injections and skin patches.
Estradiol is prescribed primarily for the treatment of menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, vaginal dryness, burning, and irritation. Some of its other uses are prevention of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women, and replacement of estrogen in women with ovarian failure or other disorders that result in deficiency of natural estrogen in the body. Estradiol medication is also used for the treatment of some types of cancer in women and men.
Estradiol may also be used for conditions not mentioned here in this guide.
Important Information about Estradiol
Taking Estradiol (Estrace, Climara, Climara Forte, Vagifem, E2, Progynon Depot, Progynova) for a long time may increase the risk of breast, ovarian, or uterine cancer. Discuss this with your doctor about your specific risks. You may be required to have regular physical checkups and mammograms while taking this medication. Do not forget to also self examine your breasts regularly for lumps. You may be monitored for your progress and condition every 3 to 6 months to ensure that Estradiol is functioning properly in you. Taking progestin while taking estradiol may decrease your risk of uterine cancer. If you have not had a hysterectomy (uterus removal surgery), you may be prescribed progestin along with estradiol.
Do not take estradiol if you have unusual and abnormal vaginal bleeding, liver disease, breast or uterine cancer, hormone related cancer, an incident of heart attack or stroke in the recent past, if you are allergic to it, if you are pregnant, or if you have ever had a blood clot. Hormonal medications can increase risk of blood clots, stroke, or a heart attack, especially if you are suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or triglycerides, if you are overweight, or if you smoke.
Estradiol is classified as pregnancy category X drug which means this medication can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects in the newborn if the mother takes it during her pregnancy. Estradiol is strictly not recommended for pregnant women. Notify your doctor in advance if you are pregnant or become pregnant while taking estradiol. Estradiol can pass into breast milk and harm a nursing baby. It may also slow breast milk production. Hence this medication is also not recommended if you are breast feeding.
Before taking Estradiol
Before taking Estradiol (Estrace, Climara, Climara Forte, Vagifem, Progynon Depot, Progynova), take all precautions as mentioned above and discuss about them and all points mentioned above with your doctor. Inform your doctor in advance if you have any of these conditions: lupus, porphyria, endometriosis, gallbladder disease, hypothyroidism, asthma, migraines, epilepsy, calcium deficiency, or if you have had a hysterectomy. Your doctor will decide if it is safe for you to take estradiol on top of these conditions.
How should I take Estradiol?
You should take estradiol exactly as directed by your doctor. All medications come with a patient leaflet with complete instructions and details. Refer it for any doubts. Do not alter the course of the medication in any way (do not take more or less than the prescribed dosage). Also do not take it after the period for which the medication was prescribed is over. You may be prescribed a course of progestin along with estradiol. Always follow your doctor’s directions and advice.
What if I miss a dose?
If you forget to take a dose of estradiol for some reasons, take it as soon as you remember it. However, skip the missed dose if the time to take the next dose is almost up or near. Do not take two doses closer to each other to make up for the missed dose.
What if I overdose?
In case of an overdose of estradiol, get urgent medical attention or call the Doctor immediately. Overdose can result in nausea, vomiting, or vaginal bleeding.
Restrictions regarding to diet and activities while taking Estradiol
Smoking is not recommended while taking estradiol. Smoking while taking this medication can increase the likelihood of blood clots or heart attack.
Side Effects due to Estradiol
Some common and less serious side effects of estradiol (Estrace, Climara, Climara Forte, Vagifem, E2, Progynon Depot, Progynova) are stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, bloating, breast tenderness, headache, or weight changes. Get medical attention right away if any of these effects do not go away or deteriorate. Also inform your doctor if you see the tablet in your stool.
Some serious side effects of estradiol are mental or mood changes (depression, memory loss); breast lumps; unusual vaginal bleeding; vaginal irritation, itching, odor, or discharge; severe stomach or abdominal pain; persistent nausea or vomiting; yellowing eyes or skin; dark urine; increase thirst or urination; or swelling in limbs. Some rarely occurring serious problems due to estradiol are blood clots which may result in heart attack, stroke, deep vein thrombosis, or pulmonary embolism. Get emergency medical attention if you experience any serious side effects due to estradiol.
The side effects mentioned above are not the only ones caused by estradiol. There may be others.
Estradiol Dosing Information
Estradiol dosage for you will be decided by your doctor after examining you thoroughly. Dosage may depend on several factors like age, seriousness of the conditions, other conditions, and allergies among several others.
Interaction with other drugs
Some interacting drugs which can interact or interfere with estradiol working are warfarin (blood thinner), cimetidine, carbamazepine, Phenobarbital, phenytoin, rifampin, ritonavir (anti retroviral), St John’s wort, some antibiotics like clarithromycin, erythromycin, or antifungal medicines like ketoconazole. These are not all the drugs which can interact with estradiol. There may be other drugs. Let your doctor know about all your present medications in advance. Do not start a new medication without proper medical attention and advice.