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All about: Femring

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Generic Name: estradiol vaginal (systemic) (ess tra DYE ol VAJ in ul (sis TEM ik))
Brand Names: Femring

What is estradiol vaginal (systemic)?

Estradiol is a form of estrogen. Estrogen is a female sex hormone necessary for many processes in the body.

Estradiol vaginal (systemic) is used to treat symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, and vaginal dryness, burning, and irritation.

Estradiol vaginal (systemic) may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about estradiol vaginal (systemic)?

Some estradiol products placed directly into the vagina are used for "local" treatment of vaginal menopause symtoms involving the secretions and surrounding tissues of the vagina. Other vaginal estradiol products are used for treating menopause symptoms affecting the vagina as well as other parts of the body (such as hot flashes). This type of vaginal estradiol has "systemic" effects, meaning that it can affect parts of the body other than where the medicine is placed or applied.

The information in this leaflet is specific to estradiol vaginal products that are used for systemic treatment of symptoms.

Do not use this medication if you have any of the following conditions: a history of stroke or blood clot, circulation problems, a hormone-related cancer such as breast or uterine cancer, or abnormal vaginal bleeding. This medication can cause birth defects in an unborn baby. Do not use if you are pregnant. Use an effective form of birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

Estradiol increases your risk of developing endometrial hyperplasia, a condition that may lead to cancer of the uterus. Taking progestins while using estradiol may lower this risk. If your uterus has not been removed, your doctor may prescribe a progestin for you to take while you are using estradiol vaginal.

Long-term estradiol treatment may increase your risk of breast cancer, heart attack, or stroke. Talk with your doctor about your individual risks before using estradiol long-term. Your doctor should check your progress on a regular basis (every 3 to 6 months) to determine whether you should continue this treatment.

Have regular physical exams and self-examine your breasts for lumps on a monthly basis while using estradiol.

What should I discuss with my health care provider before using estradiol vaginal (systemic)?

Do not use estradiol vaginal if you have:
  • a bleeding or blood-clotting disorder;

  • a history of stroke or circulation problems;

  • abnormal vaginal bleeding that a doctor has not checked; or

  • any type of breast, uterine, or hormone-dependent cancer.

Before using estradiol vaginal, tell your doctor if you have:

  • high blood pressure, angina, or heart disease;

  • high cholesterol or triglycerides;

  • liver disease;
  • kidney disease;
  • asthma;

  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder;

  • migraines;

  • diabetes;

  • depression;

  • gallbladder disease;

  • uterine fibroids;

  • a narrow, short, or prolapsed vagina;

  • vaginal irritation or infection; or

  • if you have had your uterus removed (hysterectomy).

If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to use estradiol vaginal, or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.

Estradiol increases your risk of developing endometrial hyperplasia, a condition that may lead to cancer of the uterus. Taking progestins while using estradiol may lower this risk. If your uterus has not been removed, your doctor may prescribe a progestin for you to take while you are using estradiol vaginal.

Long-term estradiol treatment may increase your risk of stroke. Talk with your doctor about your individual risks before using estradiol long-term. Your doctor should check your progress on a regular basis (every 3 to 6 months) to determine whether you should continue this treatment.

FDA pregnancy category X. This medication can cause birth defects. Do not use estradiol vaginal if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant during treatment. Use an effective form of birth control while you are using this medication. Estradiol can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. This medication may also slow breast milk production. Do not use if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I use estradiol vaginal (systemic)?

Use this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not use the medication in larger amounts, or use it for longer than recommended by your doctor.

To use the estradiol vaginal ring:

  • Squeeze the sides of the ring together and insert it into the vagina as far as possible. You should not be able to feel the ring once it is in place. If you can feel it, use a finger to push it in farther. It is not possible for the ring to go too far in or become lost.

  • Leave the ring in place for 90 days. If the ring ever falls out, rinse it with warm water and reinsert it. If it slides down into the lower part of the vagina, use a finger to push it in farther. After 90 days, remove the ring. Your doctor may want you to replace it with a new ring.

  • The ring does not need to be removed during sexual intercourse. Neither partner should be able to feel the ring when it is in place. If the ring is bothersome, you may remove it, rinse it with warm water, and reinsert it after intercourse.

To remove the ring, loop a finger through the ring and gently pull it from the vagina.

Have regular physical exams and self-examine your breasts for lumps on a monthly basis while using estradiol vaginal.

Store this medication at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Use the medication as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and use the medicine at the next regularly scheduled time. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

If a vaginal ring falls out, rinse it with warm water and reinsert it. If it slides down into the lower part of the vagina, use a finger to push it in farther.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. Symptoms of an estradiol vaginal overdose may include nausea, vomting, or vaginal bleeding.

What should I avoid while using estradiol vaginal (systemic)?

Avoid using other vaginal products without your doctor's advice.

Estradiol vaginal (systemic) side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
  • chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling;

  • sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body;

  • sudden headache, confusion, problems with vision, speech, or balance;

  • pain or swelling in your lower leg;

  • abnormal vaginal bleeding;

  • pain, swelling, or tenderness in your stomach;

  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or

  • a lump in your breast.

Other less serious side effects are more likely to occur, such as:

  • nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite;

  • swollen breasts;

  • acne or skin color changes;

  • decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm;

  • migraine headaches or dizziness;

  • vaginal pain, dryness, or discomfort;

  • swelling of your ankles or feet;

  • depression; or

  • changes in your menstrual periods, break-through bleeding.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect estradiol vaginal (systemic)?

Before using estradiol vaginal, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:

  • St. John's wort;

  • phenobarbital (Luminal, Solfoton);

  • a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin);

  • ritonavir (Norvir);

  • carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Tegretol);

  • rifampin (Rifadin, Rifater, Rifamate, Rimactane); or

  • antibiotics such as clarithromycin (Biaxin), erythromycin (E-Mycin, E.E.S., Erythrocin, Ery-Tab), ketoconazole (Nizoral), or itraconazole (Sporanox);

If you are using any of these drugs, you may not be able to use estradiol vaginal or you may need dosage adjustments or special tests during treatment.

There may be other drugs not listed that can affect estradiol vaginal. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has more information about estradiol vaginal (systemic) written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Estradiol vaginal (systemic) is available with a prescription under the brand name Femring. Other brand or generic forms may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 1.01. Revision Date: 8/14/06 3:07:12 PM.

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