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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Menopause--Medicines to Help You

 

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Menopause (sometimes called “the change of life”) is a normal time in a woman’s life when her period stops. During menopause, a woman’s body makes less of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Lower hormone levels may lead to symptoms like night sweats, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness along with thin bones. 
 
Some women choose to treat their menopause symptoms with hormone medicines sometimes called Hormone Therapy. This booklet lists some basic information about the FDA-approved hormone medicines for menopause. Use this booklet to help you talk to your healthcare provider about whether hormone medicines are right for you.
 

Do not take hormone therapy if you:

  • have problems with vaginal bleeding
  • have or have had certain cancers such as breast cancer or uterine cancer
  • have or have had a blood clot, stroke or heart attack
  • have a bleeding disorder
  • have liver disease
  • have allergic reactions to hormone medicine

 


 

 Menopause Hormone Therapy

 

There are different kinds of hormone medicines used during and after menopause:

 
 
This booklet does not talk about non-hormone medicines for menopause. Ask your healthcare provider about the FDA-approved non-hormone medicine for menopause called Brisdelle (paroxetine).

 


 
Side Effects
 
Hormone medicines have side effects. Serious health problems can happen in women who take menopause hormone therapy.
 
  • For some women, hormone medicines may raise their chances of blood clots, heart attacks, strokes and breast cancer.
  • For some women who are 65 years old or older, hormone medicines may raise their chances of dementia.
  • For women who still have their uterus, taking estrogen-only medicines raises their chance of getting cancer of the lining of the uterus or endometrial cancer. These women need to take progestin to prevent endometrial cancer.
 
This booklet does not list all of the side effects and warnings for each hormone medicine. Ask your healthcare provider about all of the risks of taking hormone medicines.
 
 

  

Estrogen-Only Medicines

 

Brand NameGeneric NameProduct Type
AloraEstradiolPatch
CenestinSynthetic Conjugated EstrogensPill
ClimaraEstradiolPatch
DelestrogenEstradiol ValerateInjection (Shot)
DivigelEstradiolGel
ElestrinEstradiolGel
EnjuviaSynthetic Conjugated EstrogensPill
EsclimEstradiolPatch
EstraceEstradiolPill
Vaginal Cream
EstradermEstradiolPatch
EstrasorbEstradiolSkin Cream
(Emulsion)
EstringEstradiolVaginal Insert
EstroGelEstradiolGel
EvamistEstradiolSkin Spray (Transdermal)
FemringEstradiol AcetateVaginal Ring
FemtraceEstradiol AcetatePill
MenestEsterified EstrogenPill
Menostar
(only used to prevent osteoporosis)
EstradiolPatch
MinivelleEstradiolPatch
OgenEstropipatePill
Vaginal Cream
Ortho-EstEstropipatePill
PremarinConjugated EstrogensPill
Vaginal Cream
Injection (Shot)
VagifemEstradiolVaginal Tablet
VivelleEstradiolPatch
Vivelle-DotEstradiolPatch

 

Estrogen-Only Medicines

 

Do not use if you:

  • have unusual vaginal bleeding
  • have or have had certain cancers such as breast cancer or uterine cancer
  • have or have had blood clots in the legs or lungs
  • have a bleeding disorder
  • have or have had a stoke or heart attack
  • have liver problems
  • have serious reactions to estrogen medicines
  • think you are pregnant

 

Serious Side Effects

  • Stroke or blood clots
  • Endometrial Cancer in women who still have their uterus and who do not use progestin with estrogen-only medicines
  • Dementia in women 65 years and older
  • Gallbladder disease or high triglyceride (cholesterol) levels that could lead to problems with your pancreas
  • Vision loss caused by a blood clot in the eye
  • Liver Problems
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Severe allergic reactions

 

Less Serious, Common Side Effects

  • Headaches
  • Painful or tender breasts
  • Vaginal spotting
  • Stomach cramps/ Bloating  
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hair loss
  • Fluid retention 
  • Vaginal yeast infection

 

For more information about the risks and side effects for each drug, check Drugs@FDA

 


 

Progestin-Only Medicines

 

Brand NameGeneric NameProduct Type
PrometriumMicronized ProgesteronePill
ProveraMedroxyprogesterone AcetatePill

 

 

Progestin-Only Medicines

  • Women who still have their uterus should also take an Estrogen-Only medicine to lower the chance of getting endometrial cancer.
  • See the 'Combination Estrogen and Progestin Medicines' Section to learn more about the risks and side effects of taking Progestin-Only medicines with Estrogen-Only medicines.

 

For more information about the risks and side effects for each drug, check Drugs@FDA.

 

 


 

Combination Estrogen and Progestin Medicines

 

Brand NameGeneric NameProduct Type
ActivellaEstradiol/
Norethindrone Acetate
Pill

Angeliq

 

Estradiol/

Drospirenone

Pill
Climara ProEstradiol/
Levonorgestrel
Patch
CombipatchEstradiol/
Norethindrone Acetate
Patch
FemhrtNorethindrone Acetate/
Ethinyl Estradiol
Pill
PrefestEstradiol/
Norgestimate
Pill
PremproConjugated Estrogen/
Medroxyprogesterone
Pill

 

Combination Estrogen and Progestin Medicines 

 

Do not use if you:

  • have unusual vaginal bleeding
  • have or have had certain cancers such as breast cancer or uterine cancer
  • have or have had a stoke or heart attack
  • have or have had blood clots in the legs or lungs
  • have a bleeding disorder
  • have liver problems
  • have serious reactions to estrogen medicines
  • think you are pregnant

 

Serious Side Effects

  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Blood clots
  • Breast Cancer
  • Dementia in women 65 years and older
  • Gallbladder disease or high triglyceride (cholesterol) levels that could lead to problems with your pancreas
  • Vision loss caused by a blood clot in the eye 
  • Liver problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Severe allergic reactions

 

Less Serious, Common Side Effects

  • Headaches
  • Painful or tender breasts
  • Vaginal spotting
  • Stomach cramps/ Bloating
  • Nausea and vomitting
  • Hair loss
  • Fluid retention
  • Vaginal yeast infection

 

For the most recent information about each drug, check Drugs@FDA  

 

 


 

Combination Estrogen and Hormone Medicines

 

 Brand NameGeneric NameProduct Type
 DuaveeConjugated Estrogen/ BazedoxifenePill

 

You should not use Duavee if you are taking medicines that have estrogen, progestin or both hormones.

 

Do not use if you:

  • have unusal vaginal bleeding
  • have or have had certain cancers such as breast cancer or uterine cancer
  • have or have had a stroke or heart attack
  • have or have had blood clots in the legs or lungs
  • have a bleeding disorder
  • have liver problems
  • have had a serious allergic reaction to estrogen medicines
  • think you are pregnant or may become pregant
  • are breastfeeding (nursing)

 

Serious Side Effects

  • Stroke or blood clots
  • Dementia in women 65 years and older
  • Gallbladder disease or high triglyceride (cholesterol) levels that could lead to problems with your pancreas
  • Vision loss caused by a blood clot in the eye
  • Liver problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Severe allergic reactions

 

Less Serious, Common Side Effects

  • Muscle Spasms
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach/ Stomach pain
  • Throat pain
  • Dizziness
  • Neck Pain

 

For more information about the risks and side effects for each drug, check Drugs@FDA.

 


  

Important Questions to Ask about Menopause Hormone Medicines

 

  • Are hormones right for me? Why?
  • What are the benefits?
  • What are the serious risks and common side effects?
  • How long should I use hormone therapy?
  • What is the lowest dose that will work for me?
  • Are there any non-hormone medicines that I can take?

 

 


 

 Want more information about menopause? Check the FDA website at: www.fda.gov/menopause

 

The drug and risk information in this booklet may change. Check Drugs@FDA for the latest facts on each product listed in this booklet.

 

Contact FDA

301-796-9440
Fax:301-847-8604
Food and Drug Administration Office of Women's Health

10903 New Hampshire Avenue

WO32-2333

Silver Spring, MD 20993