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Estradiol

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Minivelle Description

This medication is a female hormone (estrogen). It is used by women to help reduce symptoms of menopause (such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness). 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 medication may also be used by women who are not able to produce enough estrogen (for example, due to hypogonadism, primary ovarian failure).

Certain estrogen products may also be used by women after menopause to prevent bone loss (osteoporosis). 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.

Minivelle Directions

Peel off the backing from the patch and apply the patch to a clean, dry area of the body as directed. This patch should only be applied to certain areas of the body. Different brands of patches are applied to different areas of the body. If you have any questions about where to apply the patch, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Press the patch firmly in place for about 10 seconds to make sure it stays on. Do not apply the patch on the breast or on oily, broken, or irritated skin. Avoid applying the patch to areas of the skin where it might be easily rubbed off (such as the waistline). Use this medication as directed by your doctor. The patch is usually replaced twice a week (every 3 to 4 days). Follow the dosing schedule carefully.

The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.

When replacing your patch, make sure to apply the new patch to a different area. Wait at least 1 week before applying a patch to the same area. Fold the old patch in half with the sticky side together and throw away in the trash away from children and pets. Do not flush the patch down the toilet.

If a patch falls off, reapply it to a different area. If the patch does not stick completely, then apply a new patch and wear it for the rest of the scheduled period. Do not wear 2 patches at the same time.

Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, change the patch on the same days each week. It may help to mark your calendar as a reminder.

Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.

Minivelle Cautions

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 can increase the risk of cancer of the ovaries, stroke, dementia, and serious blood clots in the legs. Estrogens alone do not appear to increase the risk of breast cancer when used for up to 7 years. Estrogen, when used with a progestin, can increase the risk of heart disease (such as heart attacks), stroke, serious blood clots in the lungs/legs, dementia, and cancer of the breast/ovaries.

The risk for serious side effects may depend on the dose of estrogen and the length of time it is used. Therefore, 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 and check with him/her regularly (for example, every 3 to 6 months) to see if you still need to use this medication. If you will be using this medication long-term, you should have regular complete physical exams (for example, once a year) as directed by your doctor.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: vaginal bleeding of unknown cause, certain cancers (such as breast cancer, cancer of the uterus/ovaries), blood clots, stroke, heart disease (such as heart attack), liver disease, kidney disease, family medical history (especially breast lumps, cancer, blood clots, angioedema), blood clotting disorders (such as protein C or protein S deficiency), high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol/triglyceride levels, obesity, lupus, underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), mineral imbalance (low or high level of calcium in the blood), a certain hormone problem (hypoparathyroidism), uterus problems (such as fibroids, endometriosis), gallbladder disease, asthma, seizures, migraine headaches, a certain blood disorder (porphyria), mental/mood disorders (such as dementia, depression).

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 taking an estrogen product. You may need to stop this medication for a time or take special precautions.

If you are going to have an MRI test, tell testing personnel that you are using this patch. Some patches may contain metals that can cause serious burns during an MRI. Ask your doctor whether you will need to remove your patch before the test and apply a new patch afterward, and how to do so properly.

This drug may cause blotchy, dark areas of the skin on the face (melasma). Sunlight may worsen this effect. Avoid prolonged sun exposure, tanning booths, and sunlamps. Use a sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors.

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.

Children may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug. It may affect their growth/development. Discuss the possible effects of this medication with the doctor, and monitor your child's growth periodically.

This medication must not be used during pregnancy. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, tell your doctor immediately.

This medication passes into breast milk.

Minivelle Side Effects

Skin redness/irritation at the application site, nausea/vomiting, bloating, breast tenderness, headache, or weight changes may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she 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: mental/mood changes (such as depression, memory loss), breast lumps, unusual vaginal bleeding (such as spotting, breakthrough bleeding, prolonged/recurrent bleeding), increased or new vaginal irritation/itching/odor/discharge, severe stomach/abdominal pain, persistent nausea/vomiting, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine, swelling hands/ankles/feet, increased thirst/urination.

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: chest/jaw/left arm pain, unusual sweating, sudden/severe headache, weakness on one side of the body, confusion, slurred speech, sudden vision changes (such as partial/complete blindness), pain/redness/swelling of legs, tingling/weakness/numbness in the arms/legs, trouble breathing, coughing up blood, sudden dizziness/fainting.

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: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.