Active substance(s): ESTRIOL / ESTRIOL / ESTRIOL
ESTRIOL 0.1% W/W CREAM
How likely is breast cancer?
Looking at women aged 50, on average, by the time they reach 65:
PATIENT INFORMATION LEAFLET
Your medicine is available using either of the above names, but will be referred to as Ovestin Cream
throughout this leaflet.
Read all of this leaflet carefully before you start using this medicine.
you have a close relative (mother, sister or grandmother) who has had breast cancer
you are seriously overweight.
Keep this leaflet. You may need to read it again.
If you have any further questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
This medicine has been prescribed for you. Do not pass it on to others. It may harm them, even if
their symptoms are the same as yours.
If any of the side effects gets serious, or if you notice any side effects not listed in this leaflet,
please tell your doctor or pharmacist.
In women not taking HRT: 32 in 1,000 will get breast cancer.
In women who start taking oestrogen-only HRT at age 50 and take it for 5 years: between 33
and 34 in 1,000 will get breast cancer. This means an extra 1 to 2 cases.
In women taking oestrogen-only HRT for 10 years: 37 in 1,000 will get breast cancer. This
means an extra 5 cases.
If you notice any changes in your breast, such as: dimpling of your skin, changes in your nipple or
any lumps you can see or feel:
→ Make an appointment to see your doctor straight away.
Endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the womb)
Taking oestrogen-only HRT tablets for a long time can increase the risk of developing cancer
of the lining of the womb. It is possible there may be a similar risk with oestrogen cream used
directly in the vagina for repeated treatments or over a long time.
What Ovestin Cream is and what it is used for
Before you use Ovestin Cream
How to use Ovestin Cream
Possible side effects
How to store Ovestin Cream
You do not need to take a separate progestogen with Ovestin Cream.
If you get breakthrough bleeding or spotting, it is usually nothing to worry about, but you should:
→ Talk to your doctor. It could be a sign that your endometrium has become thicker.
Ovestin Cream contains a medicine called estriol. It belongs to a group of medicines called Hormone
Replacement Therapy (HRT).
Ovarian cancer (cancer of the ovaries) is very rare, but it is serious. It can be difficult to diagnose,
because there are often no obvious signs of the problem. Some studies have shown that taking
oestrogen-only HRT for more than 5 years may increase the risk of ovarian cancer. It is not yet known
whether other kinds of HRT increase the risk in the same way.
What is Ovestin Cream used for
2.4 Ovestin Cream and the heart or circulation
WHAT OVESTIN CREAM IS AND WHAT IT IS USED FOR
Ovestin Cream is used:
For vaginal problems caused by having too little ‘oestrogen’
Before or after vaginal surgery to help wound healing.
HRT is not recommended for women who have had heart disease recently. If you have ever
had heart disease, talk to your doctor to see if you should be taking HRT.
How Ovestin Cream works
HRT will not help to prevent heart disease.
Estriol (the medicine in Ovestin Cream) is one of the natural oestrogens.
Oestrogens are female sex hormones.
They are produced in the ovaries.
They cause sexual development in women and control the menstrual cycle during the child-bearing
When women get older the ovaries gradually produce less oestrogen.
This happens at the menopause (usually around the age of 50).
If the ovaries are removed before the menopause, oestrogen production stops very suddenly.
Research suggests that HRT slightly increases the risk of having a stroke. Other things that can
increase the risk of stroke include:
BEFORE YOU USE OVESTIN CREAM
As well as benefits, HRT has some risks that you need to consider when you’re deciding whether to
start taking it, or whether to carry on taking it. This is especially important if you are more than 60
Before you start taking HRT
Your doctor should ask about you and your family’s medical history. Your doctor may decide to
examine your breasts or your stomach and may do an internal examination. They will only do this if it
is necessary for you or you have any special concerns.
If you get a pain in your chest that spreads to your arm or neck:
→ See a doctor as soon as possible
Do not use any more HRT until a doctor says you can. This pain could be a sign of heart disease.
Shortage of oestrogens may cause the vaginal wall to become thin and dry. So sexual intercourse may
become painful and you may get vaginal infections. These problems can be relieved by using medicines
like Ovestin which contain oestrogen. It may take several days or weeks before you notice an
Studies with one type of HRT (containing a progestogen, and a different oestrogen to the one in
Ovestin Cream) have shown that women may be slightly more likely to get heart disease during the
first year of taking that type of HRT. For other types of HRT (like Ovestin Cream), the risk is likely to
be similar. However this is not yet certain.
If you are worried about any of these things, or if you have had a stroke in the past, talk to your
doctor to see if you should take HRT.
How likely is a stroke?
Looking at women in their 50s, on average, over 5 years
Tell your doctor if you have any medical problems or illnesses.
go for regular breast screening and cervical smear tests
regularly check your breasts for any changes such as dimpling of the skin, changes in the
nipple, or any lumps you can see or feel.
2.1 Do not use Ovestin Cream if:
you are allergic (hypersensitive) to any of the ingredients of Ovestin Cream (listed in Section 6)
you have had angina or a heart attack (myocardial infarction)
you have had a blood clot (thrombosis)
you have had breast cancer or suspect that you have breast cancer
you have had cancer of other sex organs - such as cancer of the womb lining or ovary
you have vaginal bleeding that has not been explained by your doctor
you have excessive thickening of the womb lining
you have had a liver disease, and your liver is still not working properly
you have a rare blood problem called ‘porphyria’.
Do not use this medicine if any of the above apply to you. If you are not sure, talk to your
doctor or pharmacist before using Ovestin Cream.
2.2 Take special care with Ovestin Cream
Check with your doctor or pharmacist before using your medicine if you have had:
a problem caused by growth of the womb lining outside the womb (fibroids or endometriosis)
any problem with your heart or circulation (including high blood pressure or risk factors for a blood
clot – see Section 2.4)
relatives who have had blood clots
migraine or severe headaches
liver or kidney problems
a rare problem called ‘systemic lupus erythematosus’ (SLE)
otosclerosis (a hearing disorder).
If you have any of these, talk to your doctor or pharmacist before using Ovestin Cream.
Ovestin Cream contains cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol. This may cause local skin reactions (e.g
2.3 Ovestin Cream and the risk of developing cancer
Women who have ever had breast cancer should not take HRT.
Taking HRT slightly increases the risk of breast cancer. The risk is also slightly increased if you have a
later menopause. The risk after the menopause for a woman taking oestrogen-only HRT for 5 years is
about the same as for a woman of the same age who is still having periods over that time and not
taking HRT. The risk for a woman who is taking oestrogen plus progestogen HRT is higher than for
oestrogen-only HRT. However, oestrogen plus progestogen HRT is beneficial for the endometrium.
For all kinds of HRT, the extra risk of breast cancer goes up the longer you take it. However, it returns
to normal about 5 years after stopping HRT.
In women not taking HRT: 3 in 1,000 would be expected to have a stroke.
In women taking HRT: 4 in 1,000 would be expected to have a stroke.
Looking at women in their 60s, on average, over 5 years
Once you have started on HRT, see your doctor for regular check-ups (at least once a year). At these
check-ups, your doctor may discuss the benefits and risks of continuing to take HRT.
Make sure that you:
high blood pressure
drinking too much alcohol
an uneven heartbeat
In women not taking HRT: 11 in 1,000 would be expected to have a stroke.
In women taking HRT: 15 in 1,000 would be expected to have a stroke.
If you get an unexpected migraine-type headache, with or without disturbed vision:
→ See a doctor straight away, and do not use any more HRT until a doctor says you can. These
headaches may be an early warning sign of a stroke.
HRT may increase the risk of blood clots in the veins (also called deep vein thrombosis, or DVT). This is
especially during the first year of taking it.
These blood clots are not always serious. However, if a clot travels to your lungs, it can cause
chest pain, feeling breathless, collapse or even death. This is called a pulmonary embolism or PE.
You are more likely to get a blood clot if:
you are very overweight
you have had a blood clot before
any of your close family have had blood clots
you have ever had a miscarriage
you have any blood clotting problem that needs treatment with a medicine such as warfarin
you are off your feet for a long time because of major surgery, injury or illness
you have a rare problem called SLE.
If any of these things apply to you, talk to your doctor to see if you should take HRT.
How likely is a blood clot?
Looking at women in their 50s, on average, over 5 years:
In women not taking HRT: 3 in 1,000 would be expected to get a blood clot.
In women taking HRT: 7 in 1,000 would be expected to get a blood clot.
Looking at women in their 60s, on average, over 5 years:
In women not taking HRT: 8 in 1,000 would be expected to get a blood clot.
In women taking HRT: 17 in 1,000 would be expected to get a blood clot.
If you get painful swelling in your leg, sudden chest pain or have problems breathing:
→ See a doctor straight away
Do not use any more HRT until a doctor says you can. These may be signs of a blood clot.
2.5 Taking other medicines
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking or have recently taken any other medicines. This
includes medicines obtained without a prescription, including herbal medicines. This is because Ovestin
Cream can affect the way some other medicines work. Also some other medicines can affect the way
Ovestin Cream works.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any of the following:
medicines for epilepsy – such as barbiturates, hydantoins and carbamezapine.
medicines for infections – such as griseofulvin and rifamycins.
medicines for viral infections – such as nevirapine, efavirenz, ritonavir or nelfinavir.
herbal peparations containing St John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) – a herbal medicine used for
one of the following medicines: corticosteroids, succinylcholine, theophyllines or troleandomycin.
If you are not sure if any of the above apply to you, talk to your doctor or pharmacist before using
If you have a vaginal infection, your doctor may also prescribe a medicine to treat the infection.
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Tell your doctor you are using Ovestin Cream if you are going to have surgery. You may need to
stop using HRT about 4 to 6 weeks before the operation to reduce the risk of a blood clot. Your
doctor will tell you when you can start taking HRT again.
2.7 Pregnancy and breast-feeding
Do not use Ovestin Cream if you are pregnant or might become pregnant. This is because it may
affect the baby.
Do not breast-feed if you are using this medicine.
Other side effects include:
2.8 Driving and using machines
Ovestin Cream has no or little effect on the ability to drive or use machines.
HOW TO USE OVESTIN CREAM
Always use Ovestin Cream exactly as your doctor or pharmacist has told you. You should check with
your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
See your doctor straight away, if you notice any of the following serious side effects –
your doctor may decide to stop you using the cream:
your blood pressure rises
your skin or the whites of your eyes go yellow (jaundice)
you suddenly have migraine-type headaches (see Section 2.4 above)
you have signs of a blood clot (see Section 2.4 above)
you have any of the problems listed in Section 2.1 above.
These side effects are rare.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice before taking any medicine, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS
Like all medicines, Ovestin Cream can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.
If you have had your womb and ovaries removed, you can start using Ovestin Cream straight
If you have never used HRT before or if you are changing over from a period-free HRT, you can
also use Ovestin Cream straight away.
If you are changing over from another type of HRT where you have a period, start taking Ovestin
Cream one week after you finish the other HRT.
irritation or itching of the skin in or around your vagina when you start to use Ovestin Cream. This
usually gets better after a few weeks.
increased vaginal discharge, bleeding or spotting
gall bladder problems
skin problems such as a rash or an allergy to the sun
breasts become swollen, tender or painful
feeling sick or being sick.
If you have any of these side effects tell your doctor. They may decide to stop your treatment for
HRT will not prevent memory loss. In one study of women who started using combined HRT after the
age of 65, a small increase in the risk of dementia was observed.
3.1 How much to use
For vaginal problems
If any of the side effects gets serious, or if you notice any side effects not listed in this leaflet, tell
your doctor or pharmacist.
HOW TO STORE OVERSTIN CREAM
3.2 How to apply the cream
KEEP ALL MEDICINES OUT OF THE REACH AND SIGHT OF CHILDREN.
Do not use this medicine after the expiry date printed on the carton and tube.
Store the cream at room temperature (15-25°C).
This medicine has been prescribed for your current medical problems. Do not use it for other medical
Do not allow other people to use your medicines and do not use medicines meant for other people.
Tell any doctor treating you what medicines you are taking. Always carry a medical information card
stating which medicines you are using. This can also be very important in case you are involved in an
Return unused medicines to the pharmacy for disposal.
Make sure that other people you may live with or who look after you read this information.
If your cream appears discoloured, or shows any other signs of deterioration, take it to your
pharmacist who will advise you.
Medicines should not be disposed of via wastewater or household waste. Ask your pharmacist how to
dispose of medicines no longer required. These measures will help protect the environment.
Ovestin Cream comes in a pack together with a clear plastic applicator.
Use the applicator to apply the cream in the vagina. A good time to do this is before going to bed.
Each gram contains 1mg of the active ingredient Estriol.
It also contains chlorhexidine hydrochloride, eutanol G, cetyl palmitate, glycerin, cetyl alcohol, stearyl
alcohol, polysorbate 60, sorbitan monostearate, lactic acid, sodium hydroxide and purified water.
The usual dose is 1 applicator up to the ring (0.5mg estriol in 0.5g of cream) a day for the first 2
to 3 weeks.
Then the dose is 1 applicator up to the ring twice a week.
Your doctor will prescribe the lowest dose that relieves your symptoms. Your doctor may want you to
stop from time to time (every 2 to 3 months for a period of 4 weeks). This is to check if you still need
Before or after vaginal surgery
Before surgery – the dose is 1 applicator up to the ring (0.5 mg estriol in 0.5g of cream) a day for
2 weeks before the operation.
After surgery – do not use the cream again for at least 2 weeks. Then use 1 applicator up to the
ring twice a week.
What Ovestin Cream contains
The applicator has a ring marked on the body. Fill the applicator up to the ring mark with Ovestin
Cream to get the correct dose.
What Ovestin Cream looks like and the contents of the pack
Follow these instructions:
Ovestin Cream is a white smooth cream.
Each tube contains 15g of cream.
Remove the cap from the tube and turn the cap upside down. Then use the sharp point to open
Screw the end of the applicator onto the tube.
Manufactured by: Organon (Ireland) Ltd., Swords, Ireland.
Procured from within the EU and repackaged by: Doncaster Pharmaceuticals Group Ltd., Kirk Sandall,
Doncaster, DN3 1QR.
Product Licence holder: BR Lewis Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Kirk Sandall, Doncaster, DN3 1QR.
Leaflet issue and revision date (Ref): 26.10.11
PL No: 08929/0342
Ovestin® is a registered trademark of N.V. Organon.
Squeeze the tube to fill the applicator with the cream up to the red ring mark (the plunger will
stop at the red ring mark).
Unscrew the applicator from the tube and put the cap back on the tube.
To apply the cream, lie down, put the end of the applicator deep into your vagina and slowly
push the plunger all the way in.
Cleaning the applicator
After use, pull the plunger out of the barrel.
Wash the plunger and barrel in hand hot, soapy water.
Do not use detergents. Rinse well with clean water afterwards.
Do not put the applicator in boiling water.
Ovestin Cream is easy to remove with water.
3.3 If you use more Ovestin Cream than you should or if you swallow it
If someone has swallowed some cream by accident, or too much cream is applied at any time, there is
no need to worry. However, you should talk to your doctor. The person may feel sick or be sick.
Women may have some vaginal bleeding after a few days.
3.4 If you forget to use Ovestin Cream
Apply the missed dose when you remember, unless you are more than 12 hours late.
If you are more than 12 hours late just skip the missed dose.
3.5 If you stop using Ovestin Cream
Keep using this medicine as prescribed by your doctor. Keep using Ovestin Cream, even if you seem to
be better. If you stop too early or too suddenly your problem may return.
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Source: Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency
Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided here is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. This information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.