What is this medication for?
Estradiol patch belongs to the family of medications known as estrogen replacement therapy. It is used to treat some of the symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes and vaginal dryness, and to prevent osteoporosis (thinning of the bones) associated with menopause. It may also be used to treat conditions where a young woman's ovaries do not produce enough estrogen. It works by replacing the estrogen that the body is no longer making.
When an estradiol patch is applied to your skin, it releases estradiol into your blood through your skin. Estradiol is a type of estrogen, a female hormone that is produced by the ovaries. At menopause, the amount of estrogen made by the ovaries declines and symptoms such as hot flushes (sudden, extreme feeling of warmth) and vaginal dryness can occur. Most women reach menopause naturally around the age of 50, but some women may undergo menopause sooner due to many causes, including surgery.
Women who have not had a hysterectomy (removal of their uterus or womb) must also take another female hormone called progestin while they are taking this medication to prevent complications associated with taking estrogen alone.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you are not sure why you are using this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to use this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
Some medications may have other generic brands available. Always ask your doctor or pharmacist about the safety of switching between brands of the same medication.
How should I use this medication?
The usual dose is one patch applied twice weekly. Women who have had their uterus removed (hysterectomy) can use the medication continuously. Women who have a uterus should apply a patch twice weekly for 3 weeks, then have one week "off" with no patches.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are using the medication without consulting your doctor.
Apply the patch to a clean, dry, unbroken area of skin on the lower abdomen (but not along the waistline) or upper part of the buttocks. Never apply the patch to your breast area. Do not apply the patch to the same area of skin twice in a row. Once the patch is removed from its packaging, remove the protective liner and apply it immediately to clean, dry, unbroken skin. Hold the patch in place for at least 10 seconds to be sure it adheres to your skin. If the patch falls off, try to reapply it. If it cannot be reapplied (for example, it won't stick), safely discard the patch and apply another patch to a different skin area and continue with your usual schedule.
When removing the patch, do so slowly to avoid irritating the skin. If adhesive remains on the skin after removal, allow the area to dry for 15 minutes and gently rub the area with an oil-based cream or lotion. A used patch will still contain some active hormone. After removing a patch, fold it in half so it sticks to itself before throwing it away.
It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
If you forget to apply a patch, apply it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. Do not apply a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after forgetting to apply a patch, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from excessive heat, and keep it out of the reach of children.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not use the estradiol patch if you:
- are allergic to estradiol or to any of the ingredients of the medication
- are or may be pregnant
- currently have, have had, or may have cancer of the breast or uterus
- have arterial thromboembolic disease (e.g., stroke, heart attack) or have had it in the past year
- have liver disease or reduced liver function
- have or have had blood clots (i.e., deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism)
- have or may have a tumor that depends on estrogen to grow
- have unusual vaginal bleeding that has not been checked by a doctor