Estradiol increases the risk that you will develop endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus [womb]). The longer you use estradiol, the greater the risk that you will develop endometrial cancer. If you have not had a hysterectomy (surgery to remove the uterus), you should be given another medication called a progestin to take with transdermal estradiol. This may decrease your risk of developing endometrial cancer but may increase your risk of developing certain other health problems, including breast cancer. Before you begin using transdermal estradiol, tell your doctor if you have or have ever had cancer and if you have unusual vaginal bleeding. Call your doctor immediately if you have abnormal or unusual vaginal bleeding during your treatment with transdermal estradiol. Your doctor will watch you closely to help ensure you do not develop endometrial cancer during or after your treatment.
In a large study, women who took estrogens (a group of medications that includes estradiol) by mouth with progestins had a higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, blood clots in the lungs or legs, breast cancer, and dementia (loss of ability to think, learn, and understand). Women who use transdermal estradiol alone or with progestins may also have a higher risk of developing these conditions. Tell your doctor if you smoke or use tobacco, if you have had a heart attack or a stroke in the past year, and if you or anyone in your family has or has ever had blood clots or breast cancer. Also tell your doctor if you have or have ever had high blood pressure, high blood levels of cholesterol or fats, diabetes, heart disease, lupus ( a condition in which the body attacks its own tissues causing damage and swelling), breast lumps, or an abnormal mammogram (x-ray of the breast used to find breast cancer).
The following symptoms can be signs of the serious health conditions listed above. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms while you are using transdermal estradiol: sudden, severe headache; sudden, severe vomiting; speech problems; dizziness or faintness; sudden complete or partial loss of vision; double vision; weakness or numbness of an arm or a leg; crushing chest pain or chest heaviness; coughing up blood; sudden shortness of breath; difficulty thinking clearly, remembering, or learning new things; breast lumps or other breast changes; discharge from nipples; or pain, tenderness, or redness in one leg.
You can take steps to decrease the risk that you will develop a serious health problem while you are using transdermal estradiol. Do not use transdermal estradiol alone or with a progestin to prevent heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, or dementia. Use the lowest dose of transdermal estradiol that controls your symptoms and only use transdermal estradiol as long as needed. Talk to your doctor every 3 to 6 months to decide if you should use a lower dose of transdermal estradiol or should stop using the medication.
You should examine your breasts every month and have a mammogram and a breast exam performed by a doctor every year to help detect breast cancer as early as possible. Your doctor will tell you how to properly examine your breasts and whether you should have these exams more often than once a year because of your personal or family medical history.
Tell your doctor if you are having surgery or will be on bedrest. Your doctor may tell you to stop using transdermal estradiol 4 to 6 weeks before the surgery or bedrest to decrease the risk that you will develop blood clots.
Talk to your doctor regularly about the risks and benefits of using transdermal estradiol.
Most brands of estradiol transdermal patches are used to treat hot flushes (hot flashes; sudden strong feelings of heat and sweating) and/or vaginal dryness, itching, and burning in women who are experiencing menopause (change of life; the end of monthly menstrual periods). Transdermal estradiol is also used to prevent osteoporosis (a condition in which the bones become thin and weak and break easily) in women who are experiencing or have experienced menopause. Women who need to use transdermal estradiol for more than one of these reasons can benefit most from the medication. Women whose only bothersome symptoms are vaginal dryness, itching, or burning may benefit more from an estrogen product that is applied topically to the vagina. Women who only need a medication to prevent osteoporosis may benefit more from a different medication that does not contain estrogen. Most brands of estradiol transdermal patches are also sometimes used as a source of estrogen in young women who do not produce enough estrogen naturally. Estradiol is in a class of medications called estrogen hormones. It works by replacing estrogen that is normally produced by the body.
Menostar® brand patches contain less estrogen than other brands of estradiol transdermal patches. Menostar® patches are used only to prevent osteoporosis in women who are experiencing or have experienced menopause.
Transdermal estradiol comes as a patch to apply to the skin. Transdermal estradiol is usually applied once or twice a week, depending on the brand of patch that is used. Some women wear a patch all the time, and other women wear a patch according to a rotating schedule that alternates 3 weeks when the patch is worn followed by 1 week when the patch is not worn. Always apply your transdermal patch on the same day(s) of the week every week. There may be a calendar on the inner flap of your medication carton where you can keep track of your patch change schedule. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use transdermal estradiol exactly as directed. Do not apply more or fewer patches or apply the patches more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Your doctor will start you on a low dose of transdermal estradiol and may increase your dose if your symptoms are still bothersome. If you are already taking or using an estrogen medication, your doctor will tell you how to switch from the estrogen medication you are taking or using to transdermal estradiol. Be sure you understand these instructions. Talk to your doctor about how well transdermal estradiol works for you.
You should apply estradiol patches to clean, dry, cool skin in the lower stomach area, below your waistline. Some brands of patches may also be applied to the upper buttocks or the hips. Ask your doctor or pharmacist or read the manufacturer's information that comes with your patches to find the best place(s) to apply the brand of patches you have received. Do not apply any brand of estradiol patches to the breasts or to skin that is oily, damaged, cut, or irritated. Do not apply estradiol patches to the waistline where they may be rubbed off by tight clothing or to the lower buttocks where they may be rubbed off by sitting. Be sure that the skin in the area where you plan to apply an estradiol patch is free of lotion, powders, or creams. After you apply a patch to a particular area, wait at least 1 week before applying another patch to that spot. Some brands of patches should not be applied to an area of the skin that is exposed to sunlight. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to find out whether your patch should be applied to an area that will not be exposed to sunlight.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist or read the manufacturer's information that came with your medication to find out if you need to be careful when you swim, bathe, shower, or use a sauna while wearing an estradiol transdermal patch. Some brands of patches are not likely to be affected by these activities, but some brands of patches may loosen. Some types of patches may also be pulled and loosened by your clothes or towel when you change clothes or dry your body. You may need to check that your patch is still firmly attached after these activities.
If the patch loosens or falls off before it is time to replace it, try to press it back in place with your fingers. Be careful not to touch the sticky side of the patch with your fingers while you are doing this. If the patch cannot be pressed back on, fold it in half so it sticks to itself, dispose of it safely, so that it is out of the reach of children and pets, and apply a fresh patch to a different area. Replace the fresh patch on your next scheduled patch change day.
Each brand of estradiol transdermal patches should be applied following the specific directions given in the manufacturer's information for the patient. Read this information carefully before you start using estradiol transdermal and each time you refill your prescription. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. The following general directions can help you remember some important things to do when you apply any type of estradiol transdermal patch.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer's information for the patient.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before using transdermal estradiol,
Talk to your doctor about eating grapefruit and drinking grapefruit juice while using this medication.
Talk to your doctor about ways to increase the amount of calcium and vitamin D in your diet.
Apply the missed patch as soon as you remember. Then apply the next patch according to your regular schedule. Do not apply extra patches to make up for a missed patch.
Transdermal estradiol may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:
Transdermal estradiol may increase your risk of developing cancer of the ovaries and gallbladder disease that may need to be treated with surgery. Talk to your doctor about the risks of using transdermal estradiol.
Transdermal estradiol may cause growth to slow or stop early in children who use large doses for a long time. Your child's doctor will monitor her carefully during her treatment with transdermal estradiol. Talk to your child's doctor about the risks of giving this medication to your child.
Transdermal estradiol may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online ( Web Site ) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
Keep estradiol patches sealed in their original pouches and out of reach of children. Store the patches at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website ( Web Site) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. Web Site
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at Web Site. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your body's response to transdermal estradiol.
Before having any laboratory test, tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are using transdermal estradiol.
Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
¶ This branded product is no longer on the market. Generic alternatives may be available.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Selected Revisions: June 15, 2016.