Common Brand Name(s): Congest , Estrace , Premarin
Important: How To Use This Information
This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
Estrogens, either used alone or with another hormone (progestin), have rarely caused very serious side effects. Discuss the risks and benefits of hormone treatment with your doctor. Estrogens should not be used to prevent heart disease or dementia.
Estrogens can increase the risk of cancer of the uterus (endometrial cancer). Taking a progestin as directed by your doctor can help decrease this risk. Tell your doctor right away if you have any unusual vaginal bleeding.
In postmenopausal women, estrogens, taken with or without a progestin, increase the risk of cancer of the breast/ovaries, stroke, dementia, and serious blood clots. When used along with a progestin, estrogens also increase the risk of heart disease (such as heart attacks).
The risk for serious side effects may depend on the dose of estrogen and the length of time it is used. Therefore, this medication should be used at the lowest effective dose and for the shortest amount of time. Discuss the use of this medication with your doctor and check with him/her regularly (for example, every 3 to 6 months) to see if you still need to take this medication. If you will be taking this medication long-term, you should have regular complete physical exams (for example, once a year) as directed by your doctor. See also Notes section.
This medication is a female hormone. It is used by women to help reduce symptoms of menopause (such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness). These symptoms are caused by the body making less estrogen. If you are using this medication to treat symptoms only in and around the vagina, products applied directly inside the vagina should be considered before medications that are taken by mouth, absorbed through the skin, or injected.
Certain estrogen products may also be used by women after menopause to prevent bone loss (osteoporosis). However, there are other medications (such as raloxifene, bisphosphonates including alendronate) that are also effective in preventing bone loss and may be safer. These medications should be considered for use before estrogen treatment.
Certain estrogen products may also be used by men and women to treat cancers (certain types of prostate cancer, breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body) and by women who are not able to produce enough estrogen (for example, due to hypogonadism, primary ovarian failure).
How To Use
Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start using this medication and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor. You may take it with food or right after a meal to prevent stomach upset.
If you are taking the extended-release tablets, do not crush, chew, or dissolve them. Doing so can release all of the drug at once, increasing the risk of side effects. Also, do not split extended-release tablets unless they have a score line and your doctor or pharmacist tells you to do so. Swallow the whole or split tablet without crushing or chewing.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.
Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time(s) each day as directed. Follow your dosing schedule carefully. Do not increase your dose or take this medication more often or for a longer time than directed.
Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.
See also Warning section.
Stomach upset, nausea/vomiting, bloating, breast tenderness, headache, or weight changes may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Tell your doctor promptly if you see the tablet in your stool.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:
- mental/mood changes (such as depression, memory loss)
- breast lumps
- unusual vaginal bleeding (such as spotting, breakthrough bleeding, prolonged/recurrent bleeding)
- increased or new vaginal irritation/itching/odor/discharge
- severe stomach/abdominal pain
- persistent nausea/vomiting
- yellowing eyes/skin
- dark urine
- swelling hands/ankles/feet
- increased thirst/urination
This medication may rarely cause serious problems from blood clots (such as heart attacks, strokes, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism). Get medical help right away if you have any serious side effects, including:
- chest/jaw/left arm pain
- unusual sweating
- sudden/severe headache
- weakness on one side of the body
- slurred speech
- sudden vision changes (such as partial/complete blindness)
- pain/redness/swelling of legs
- tingling/weakness/numbness in the arms/legs
- trouble breathing
- coughing up blood
- sudden dizziness/fainting
A very serious allergic reaction to this product is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including:
- itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat)
- severe dizziness
- trouble breathing
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before taking this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of:
- vaginal bleeding of unknown cause
- certain cancers (such as breast cancer, cancer of the uterus/ovaries)
- blood clots
- heart disease (such as heart attack)
- liver disease
- kidney disease
- family medical history (especially breast lumps, cancer, blood clots)
- family or personal history of a certain swelling disorder (angioedema)
- blood clotting disorders (such as protein C or protein S deficiency)
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol/triglyceride levels
- underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
- mineral imbalance (low or high level of calcium in the blood)
- a certain hormone problem (hypoparathyroidism)
- uterus problems (such as fibroids, endometriosis)
- gallbladder disease
- migraine headaches
- a certain blood disorder (porphyria)
- mental/mood disorders (such as dementia, depression)
Do not smoke or use tobacco. Estrogens combined with smoking further increases your risk of stroke, blood clots, high blood pressure, and heart attack, especially in women older than 35.
Tell your doctor if you just had or will be having surgery, or if you will be confined to a chair or bed for a long time (such as a long plane flight). These conditions increase your risk of getting blood clots, especially if you are taking an estrogen product. You may need to stop this medication for a time or take special precautions.
This medication may cause blotchy, dark areas on your face and skin (melasma). Sunlight may worsen this effect. Limit your time in the sun. Avoid tanning booths and sunlamps. Use sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors.
If you are nearsighted or wear contact lenses, you may develop vision problems or trouble wearing your contact lenses. Contact your eye doctor if these problems occur.
Children may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug. It may affect their growth/development. Discuss the possible effects of this medication with the doctor, and monitor your child's growth periodically.
This medication must not be used during pregnancy. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, tell your doctor right away.
This medication passes into breast milk. It may reduce the quality and amount of breast milk produced. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include:
- aromatase inhibitors (such as anastrozole, exemestane, letrozole)
- tranexamic acid
This medication may interfere with certain laboratory tests (including metyrapone test), possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: severe nausea/vomiting, unusual vaginal bleeding.
Do not share this medication with others.
Keep all regular medical and laboratory appointments. You should have regular complete physical exams (for example, once a year) which include laboratory and medical tests (such as blood pressure, breast exam/mammogram, pelvic exam, pap smear) to monitor your progress and check for side effects. Follow your doctor's instructions for examining your own breasts, and report any lumps right away. Consult your doctor for more details.
Preventing or controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes can help to reduce your chances of heart disease and stroke. Lifestyle changes that can help to control or prevent these diseases include reducing stress, eating a low fat/salt diet, losing weight if overweight, exercising regularly, and stopping smoking. Keep your mind active with mental exercises (such as reading, solving crossword puzzles) to help prevent dementia. Talk to your doctor about lifestyle changes that might benefit you.
Lifestyle changes that may help reduce hot flashes include stopping smoking, dressing lightly or in layers, avoiding/limiting certain foods (spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol), reducing stress, and exercising regularly.
Lifestyle changes that help promote healthy bones include increasing weight-bearing exercise, stopping smoking, limiting alcohol, and eating well-balanced meals that contain adequate calcium and vitamin D. Since you may also need to take calcium and vitamin D supplements and make lifestyle changes, consult your doctor for specific advice.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Information last revised October 2019.
Copyright(c) 2019 First Databank, Inc.
Conditions of use: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information in not intend to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects nor should it be construed in indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.