An estrogen transdermal gel is now available in the United States for treatment of vasomotor and menopausal symptoms.
The FDA has approved EstroGel (estradiol gel) to treat moderate to severe vasomotor symptoms and menopause-associated vulvar and vaginal atrophy. A clear, odorless, hydroalcoholic gel, it's been available in Europe for 25 years.
EstroGel is applied once a day on one arm, from wrist to shoulder, to ensure that the woman receives a consistent and continuous estrogen dose. This delivery method avoids first-pass metabolism in the liver and minimizes skin irritation. The daily dose of EstroGel is 1.25 grams, which delivers 0.75 milligrams of estradiol.
According to the Women's Health Initiative study, using unopposed estrogens in postmenopausal women who haven't had hysterectomies increases their risk of myocardial infarction, stroke, invasive breast cancer, pulmonary emboli, deep vein thrombosis, and endometrial cancer. Studies were done with oral conjugated estrogens and medroxyprogesterone acetate; other drugs and combinations of estrogens and progestins weren't studied but the risks should be assumed to be similar. Estrogens should be prescribed for the shortest time and lowest dose possible to meet the needs of the women being treated.
Estrogen shouldn't be used by women who are pregnant or suspect they may be, or for those with breast cancer, active thrombophlebitis, or thromboembolic disorders. see the package insert for complete information.
Copyright Springhouse Corporation Nov 2004
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