Generic Name: estradiol oral (ess tra DYE ole)
Brand Name: Estrace
What is estradiol?
Estradiol is a form of estrogen, a female sex hormone produced by the ovaries. Estrogen is necessary for many processes in the body.
Estradiol is used to treat symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, and vaginal dryness, burning, and irritation. Other uses include prevention of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women, and replacement of estrogen in women with ovarian failure or other conditions that cause a lack of natural estrogen in the body.
Estradiol is sometimes used as part of cancer treatment in women and men.
Estradiol may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about estradiol?
You should not use estradiol if you have: liver disease, a bleeding disorder, unusual vaginal bleeding, history of a hormone-dependent cancer (such as breast, uterine, ovarian, or thyroid cancer), or if you have ever had a heart attack, stroke, or a blood clot.
Do not use if you are pregnant.
Estradiol may increase your risk of developing a condition that may lead to uterine cancer. Call your doctor at once if you have any unusual vaginal bleeding while using this medicine.
Estradiol should not be used to prevent heart disease, stroke, or dementia, because this medicine may actually increase your risk of developing these conditions. Long-term use may also increase your risk of breast cancer or blood clot.
What should I discuss with my health care provider before taking estradiol?
You should not use estradiol if you are allergic to it, if you are pregnant, or if you have:
unusual vaginal bleeding that a doctor has not checked;
a bleeding or blood-clotting disorder;
a recent history of heart attack or stroke;
a history of hormone-dependent cancer (such as breast, uterine, ovarian, or thyroid cancer);
if you have ever had a blood clot (especially in your lung or your lower body); or
if you are allergic to any medicines or food dyes.
Estradiol should not be used to prevent heart disease, stroke, or dementia, because this medicine may actually increase your risk of developing these conditions.
To make sure estradiol is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
risk factors for coronary artery disease (such as diabetes, lupus, smoking, being overweight, having high blood pressure or high cholesterol, having a family history of coronary artery disease);
a history of jaundice caused by pregnancy or birth control pills;
a thyroid disorder;
epilepsy or other seizure disorder;
porphyria (a genetic enzyme disorder that causes symptoms affecting the skin or nervous system);
endometriosis or uterine fibroid tumors;
high or low levels of calcium in your blood; or
if you have had your uterus removed (hysterectomy).
Long-term use of estradiol may increase your risk of breast cancer, heart attack, stroke, or blood clot. Talk with your doctor about your individual risks before using estradiol long term.
Do not use estradiol if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant during treatment. Use effective birth control while you are using this medicine.
Estradiol can pass into breast milk. This medication may slow breast milk production. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
How should I take estradiol?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Estradiol may increase your risk of developing a condition that may lead to uterine cancer. Your doctor may prescribe a progestin to take while you are using estradiol, to help lower this risk. Report any unusual vaginal bleeding right away.
Your doctor should check your progress on a regular basis (every 3 to 6 months) to determine whether you should continue this treatment. Self-examine your breasts for lumps on a monthly basis, and have regular mammograms while taking estradiol.
If you need surgery or medical tests or if you will be on bed rest, you may need to stop using this medicine for a short time. Any doctor or surgeon who treats you should know that you are using estradiol.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. Overdose can cause nausea, vomiting, or vaginal bleeding.
What should I avoid while using estradiol?
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with estradiol and lead to unwanted side effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit products with your doctor.
Estradiol side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
heart attack symptoms--chest pain or pressure, pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder, nausea, sweating;
signs of a stroke--sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body), sudden severe headache, slurred speech, problems with vision or balance;
signs of a blood clot in the lung--chest pain, sudden cough, wheezing, rapid breathing, coughing up blood;
signs of a blood clot in your leg--pain, swelling, warmth, or redness in one or both legs;
swelling or tenderness in your stomach;
jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
unusual vaginal bleeding;
a lump in your breast;
fluid retention (swelling, rapid weight gain); or
high levels of calcium in your blood--nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, loss of appetite, constipation, increased thirst or urination, muscle pain or weakness, joint pain, confusion, and feeling tired or restless.
Common side effects may include:
vaginal itching or discharge, changes in your menstrual periods, light vaginal bleeding or spotting;
thinning scalp hair; or
nausea, vomiting, bloating, stomach cramps.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect estradiol?
Other drugs may interact with estradiol, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
More about Estrace (estradiol)
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about estradiol.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
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