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Common Brand Name(s): EstroGel
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. 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 regularly (for example, every 3 to 6 months) to see if you still need to use it. 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 (estrogen). It is absorbed through the skin and enters into the bloodstream. It is used by women to help reduce a certain symptom of menopause (hot flashes). Certain brands may also help to reduce vaginal symptoms of menopause (such as vaginal dryness/burning/itching). 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.
This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.
Certain estrogen products may also be prescribed for bone loss (osteoporosis) in women after menopause. 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.
Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start using this medication and each time you get a refill. Learn how to use the pump and how to apply the gel correctly. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Follow the instructions for priming the pump if you are using it for the first time.
Use exactly as directed by your doctor. Apply the medication to clean, dry skin on the upper arm/shoulder area, usually once daily. Some brands may be applied on the arm from the wrist to the shoulder. Follow the directions for your specific brand. Avoid applying this medication to broken, irritated skin. Do not apply this medication to the breast, face, or in or around the vagina. Do not let others apply this medication to your body.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Do not increase your dose or use this medication more often than prescribed.
Replace the cap on the pump after each use. After applying this medication, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water to reduce the risk of accidentally spreading it from your hands to other people. Wait about 5 minutes for the application site to dry completely before dressing. Cover the application site with clothing (such as a long-sleeve shirt) to prevent others from touching the application area and being exposed to the drug. Wait at least 1 to 2 hours (depending on your brand) before allowing others to touch the skin where the medication was applied. If someone accidentally touches the gel (or the application area within 1 to 2 hours), have them wash the area of contact on their body with soap and water as soon as possible.
To get the best effect, wait at least 2 hours before showering/swimming to allow the drug to be absorbed through the skin.
Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, use it at the same time each day.
Avoid getting this medication in the eyes. If this medication gets in the eyes, rinse them right away with warm water. Tell your doctor if you get any eye irritation.
This medication is flammable until dry. Let the gel dry before smoking or going near an open flame.
Learn how many doses the gel pump delivers. Keep track of the number of doses used and discard the pump after all the doses are used, even though there may be some gel left in the pump.
Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.
See also Warning section.
Nausea/vomiting, bloating, breast tenderness, headache, or weight changes may occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor 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:
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:
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:
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 using estradiol, 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:
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 using an estrogen product. You may need to stop this medication for a time or take special precautions.
This drug 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. Wear protective clothing when outdoors. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about using sunscreen with this medication. Sunscreen may affect the absorption of this medication if applied on the area of the skin where the medication was applied.
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.
This product is not meant for children. Children may be accidentally exposed to this medication by touching someone on the area where the medication was applied. If this occurs, the child may have unwanted side effects. Children should avoid contact with any unclothed area where the medication has been applied. Tell the doctor right away if you notice unexpected signs of puberty in a child such as an increase in breast or nipple size. To decrease this risk, carefully follow all directions for the proper use of this drug.
This medication should 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:
This medication may interfere with certain laboratory tests, possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.
This medicine may be harmful if swallowed. 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. Alberta residents can call PADIS (Poison and Drug Information Service) 24 hours a day at 1-800-332-1414. 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.
Regular complete physical exams which include lab and/or medical tests (such as blood pressure, breast exam/mammogram, pelvic exam, Pap smear) should be done while you are using this medication. Follow your doctor's instructions for examining your breasts, and report any lumps right away. Keep all medical and lab appointments. 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.
If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose (within 12 hours), skip the missed dose. Use your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
If you have questions about missing a dose or you don't have more medication, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
Store at room temperature away from heat. Do not store near an open flame. 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 January 2023.
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