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All about: Estrasorb

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Generic name: Estradiol topical lotion
Brand names: Estrasorb

Why is Estrasorb prescribed?

Estrasorb is a topical lotion that contains the hormone estrogen. It's used to reduce the symptoms of moderate to severe hot flashes associated with menopause. The most common symptoms during a hot flash include sudden sweating, intense feelings of body heat, and sudden feelings of warmth spreading to the face, neck, and chest.

Most important fact about Estrasorb

Because estrogens have been linked with an increased risk of endometrial cancer (cancer in the lining of the uterus), it is essential to have regular checkups and to report any unusual vaginal bleeding to your doctor immediately.

How should you take Estrasorb?

Estrasorb lotion is packaged in foil pouches. Do not open the pouches until just before you're ready to use the medication.

Apply Estrasorb in the morning. Be sure your skin is dry before applying the lotion, and do not rub it on skin that is red or irritated. Cut or tear open one pouch and apply the contents to your left thigh. Rub the lotion into your entire left thigh and calf for 3 minutes until the medication is absorbed. You can rub any excess lotion remaining on your hands onto your buttocks. When you're done with the left leg, cut or tear open a second pouch and follow the same procedure on your right thigh and calf. Be sure to use all of the lotion in each pouch.

Wash your hands with soap and water when you're finished. Allow the application sites to dry completely before putting on clothes.

The legs are the only application sites recommended by the drug's manufacturer. It is not known if the medication will be absorbed as well if it's applied to other parts of the body.

Do not apply Estrasorb and sunscreen at the same time, since sunscreen may affect how much of the medication you absorb.

--If you miss a dose...

If you forget to apply Estrasorb in the morning, do it as soon as you remember. Do not apply Estrasorb more than once a day.

--Storage instructions...

Store the pouches at room temperature.

What side effects may occur?

Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe to continue using Estrasorb.

  • More common side effects may include:
    Abdominal cramps, bloating, breast pain, hair loss, headache, infection, irregular vaginal bleeding or spotting, itchy spots, nausea and vomiting, problems with the lining of the uterus (endometrium), sinus inflammation, skin irritation at the application site

This side effects list is not complete. If you have any questions about side effects you should consult your doctor. Report any new or continuing symptoms to your doctor right away.

Why should Estrasorb not be prescribed?

You should not use estrogen products, including Estrasorb, if you have any of the following:

  • Unexplained genital bleeding
  • A history of breast cancer or any other cancer stimulated by estrogen (or a possibility that you have this type of cancer)
  • A history of blood clots, especially in the legs or lungs
  • Active or recent (within the past year) blood-vessel disease such as stroke or heart attack
  • Liver disease or poor liver function
  • Known or suspected pregnancy
  • Allergic reaction to Estrasorb or any of its ingredients

Special warnings about Estrasorb

Estrogen therapy may increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and blood clots. It could also increase the risk of certain cancers, including breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer. (Combination products that also contain progestin pose less risk of uterine cancer, but increase the risk of breast cancer.) If you are in danger of developing any of these, your doctor should take a complete medical and family history--and do a complete physical exam--before prescribing Estrasorb. As a general rule, you should have an examination at least once a year while using this product.

Estrogen therapy may also increase the risk of gallbladder disease and high calcium levels (hypercalcemia).

Serious eye problems, including blood clots in the retina, have been reported during estrogen therapy. Contact your doctor immediately if you suddenly lose all or part of your vision or you develop any eye problems. Also tell your doctor if you suddenly develop migraines, which could be related to eye problems.

Use Estrasorb with caution if you have a history of high blood pressure, endometriosis, liver problems, jaundice, or low calcium levels (hypocalcemia). Also be cautious if you have cholesterol problems, since using estrogen could trigger a spike in your triglyceride levels and possibly damage the pancreas.

While taking estrogen, get in touch with your doctor right away if you notice any of the following:

Abdominal pain, tenderness, or swelling
Abnormal bleeding from the vagina
Breast lumps
Coughing up blood
Difficulty with speech
Dizziness or fainting
Pain in your chest or calves
Severe headache or vomiting
Sudden shortness of breath
Vision changes
Weakness or numbness of an arm or leg
Yellowing of the skin or eyes

Because estrogen can affect the ability to handle blood sugar, diabetic women should use this product with caution. Be alert, too, for signs of fluid retention, which can be especially harmful for people with a heart condition or kidney problems. Estrogen can also worsen the symptoms of asthma, epilepsy, migraine, lupus, and the genetic disorder porphyria.

Estrogen could interfere with thyroid hormone metabolism. Tell your doctor if you have thyroid problems or are taking thyroid hormone, since you may need your dosage increased.

If you're having surgery or need long periods of bed rest, you should stop taking Estrasorb at least 4 to 6 weeks beforehand to avoid the risk of blood clots.

Possible food and drug interactions when using Estrasorb

If you take certain other drugs while using estrogen, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before taking the following:

Carbamazepine (Tegretol)
Clarithromycin (Biaxin)
Erythromycin (E-Mycin, Ery-Tab, Erythrocin)
Grapefruit juice
Itraconazole (Sporanox)
Ketoconazole (Nizoral)
Phenobarbital
Rifampin (Rifadin)
Ritonavir (Norvir)
St. John's wort

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Estrasorb must not be used during pregnancy.

Estrasorb does appear in breast milk. If Estrasorb is essential to your health, you may have to quit breastfeeding until your treatment is finished.

Recommended dosage

The recommended daily dose is two lotion-filled pouches, one applied to each leg every morning. Two pouches deliver 3.48 grams of estrogen.

Overdosage

No serious side effects have been reported after oral overdoses of estrogen-containing products. An oral overdose of estrogen could be expected to cause nausea, vomiting, or vaginal bleeding.

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