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Generic Name:

esterified-estrogens, Oral tablet

All Brands

  • Menest
SECTION 1 of 4

Highlights for esterified-estrogens

Oral tablet
1

Esterified estrogens is an oral drug used to treat symptoms of menopause, symptoms of breast or prostate cancer, and conditions in women whose ovaries don’t work normally and those who don’t have ovaries.

2

Your dose depends on the condition that’s being treated. Your doctor will tell you the dose that’s right for you.

3

Taking estrogen for a long time may increase your chances of uterus, breast, or ovarian cancer. It may also raise your risk of heart attack, stroke, blood clots, or dementia. Esterified estrogens should be taken at the lowest possible dose for the shortest amount of time needed.

4

Common side effects include headache, breast pain, irregular vaginal bleeding or spotting, stomach cramps, bloating, nausea or vomiting, and hair loss.

5

Esterified estrogens may be taken as part of a combination therapy with progestin. This will reduce your risk of cancer of the uterus (endometrial cancer). If you no longer have a uterus, you don’t need progestin.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FDA warning

This drug has a Black Box Warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning alerts doctors and patients to potentially dangerous effects.

Endometrial cancer warning. Estrogen increases the risk of cancer of the uterus (endometrial cancer). Contact your doctor right away if you have any unusual vaginal bleeding.

Heart disease warning. You shouldn’t use estrogen with or without progestin to prevent heart disease, heart attack, or stroke.

Heart problems and breast cancer warning. Using estrogen with or without progestins may increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, breast cancer, and blood clots.

Dementia warning. Using estrogen with progestins may increase your risk of dementia.

Noncancerous liver tumors risk

This drug may raise your risk of non-cancerous liver tumors. If the tumors break suddenly, they may cause abdominal bleeding. This can be fatal. Contact your doctor right away if you have stomach pain, tenderness, or swelling.

Liver problems

If you have liver problems, your body may not process estrogen as well as it should. This may cause levels of the drug to build up in your body higher than normal. If you have liver problems, use this medication with caution. If you develop a liver problem due to the estrogen you took in the past and the problem comes back, don’t use this medication.

Heart problems

Estrogen may increase your blood pressure or cause fluid to build up in your body. This puts you at risk for heart disease. Your doctor should monitor your blood pressure during your treatment. If you have signs of fluid buildup, tell your doctor right away. Symptoms include:

  • swelling in your legs or ankles
  • elevated blood pressure readings

What is esterified?

This drug is a prescription drug. It’s available as an oral tablet. It is not available as a generic drug.

This drug may be taken as part of a combination therapy with progestin. This will reduce your risk of getting cancer of the uterus (endometrial cancer). If you no longer have a uterus, you don’t need progestin.

Why it's used

This drug is used to treat many conditions.

More Details

How it works

This drug belongs to a class of drugs called estrogen hormones.

More Details

Why it works

This drug is used to treat many conditions:

  • symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and vaginal itching, dryness, or burning
  • symptoms of ovaries that produce little or no hormones
  • symptoms of women who no longer have sex organs or whose ovaries stop working before 40 years of age (ovarian failure)
  • symptoms of advanced breast cancer
  • symptoms of advanced prostate cancer

How it works

This drug belongs to a class of drugs called estrogen hormones. A class of drugs refers to medications that work similarly. They are often used to treat similar conditions.

Estrogen is used as “hormone replacement” for women who no longer naturally produce adequate estrogen levels (for example, due to having ovaries removed or being postmenopausal). 

In men with prostate cancer, estrogen results in changes to the hormones that the body naturally releases, resulting in decreased testosterone levels. Testosterone increases tumor growth, so decreasing it can help decrease tumor growth.

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SECTION 2 of 4

esterified-estrogens Side Effects

Oral tablet

Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur with esterified estrogens include:

  • headache

  • breast pain

  • irregular vaginal bleeding or spotting

  • stomach cramps or bloating

  • nausea and vomiting

  • hair loss

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening, or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • endometrial or ovarian cancer. Symptoms include:

    • vaginal bleeding
    • pelvic pain
    • pain during intercourse
    • unusual vaginal discharge
  • breast cancer. Symptoms include:

    • breast lumps
    • swelling around your armpit
    • pain or tenderness in your breast
    • unusual nipple discharge
    • burning sensation in your nipple
  • heart problems, such as:

    • heart attack. Symptoms include:
      • squeezing pain in your chest
      • shortness of breath
      • pain that moves to your arms or back
    • stroke. Symptoms include:
      • severe headache
      • sudden weakness or numbness (especially on one side of your body)
      • confusion
      • changes in your vision
      • trouble speaking
    • blood clots. Symptoms include:
      • shortness of breath
      • sharp chest pain
      • coughing up blood
  • dementia. Symptoms include:

    • forgetfulness
    • confusion
  • gallbladder disease. Symptoms include:

    • severe stomach pain
    • chest pain
    • heartburn
    • nausea and vomiting
    • fever
    • chills
    • tender abdomen
  • vision problems. Symptoms include:

    • double vision
    • bulging eyes
    • migraine headaches
  • noncancerous tumors of the liver. Symptoms include:

    • stomach pain, tenderness, swelling, or internal bleeding
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

This drug doesn’t cause drowsiness.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 4

esterified-estrogens May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Esterified estrogens can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

Food interactions

Grapefruit juice may increase the amount of estrogen in your body. This could lead to greater side effects. If you drink grapefruit juice regularly, your doctor may decide to use a lower dose of estrogen.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Herbal supplement
  • St. John’s wort

This medication can decrease the amount of estrogen in your body. This means the drug won’t work as well to treat your condition.

Antiseizure medications
  • phenobarbital
  • carbamazepine

These medications can decrease the amount of estrogen in your body. This means the drug won’t work as well to treat your condition.

Tuberculosis medicines
  • rifampin

This medication can decrease the amount of estrogen in your body. This means the drug won’t work as well to treat your condition.

Antibiotics
  • erythromycin
  • clarithromycin

These drugs can increase the amount of estrogen in your body. This can cause more side effects.

Antifungal medications
  • ketoconazole
  • itraconazole

These drugs can increase the amount of estrogen in your body. This can cause more side effects.

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) medicines
  • protease inhibitors, such as:
    • ritonavir

This drug can increase the amount of estrogen in your body. This can cause more side effects.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Drug warnings
liver problems
People with liver problems

If you have liver problems, use this medication with caution. Use this medication with caution if you had the liver problems cholestatic jaundice when you used estrogen before or during pregnancy. If it occurs again, you should stop taking this medication.

heart problems
People with heart problems

If you’ve had a heart attack or stroke, this drug may increase your risk of having another one. Estrogen may increase your blood pressure or cause fluid to build up in your body. This puts you at risk for more heart problems.

high cholesterol
People with high cholesterol

Estrogen may increase your cholesterol levels. If you already have high cholesterol, estrogen may increase the risk of inflammation of your pancreas.

thyroid problems
People with thyroid problems

Estrogen may affect your thyroid levels. If you’re taking medication for your thyroid, your doctor may increase your dose. They may also do blood tests to make sure your thyroid levels stay within a normal range.

cancer
People who have cancer

Estrogen may increase your risk of breast or uterine cancer. If you have breast or bone cancer, this drug can increase calcium levels in your body. If this occurs, you should stop taking the medication and get treatment for high calcium levels. If you have a history of other cancers, ask your doctor if esterified estrogens is right for you.

endometriosis
People with endometriosis

Use estrogen with caution if you have endometriosis. It may make your condition worse. If you have endometriosis after having a hysterectomy, your doctor may also prescribe progestin.

asthma
People with asthma

Use estrogen with caution if you have asthma. Estrogen can increase fluid buildup, which can make your condition worse.

diabetes
People with diabetes

Use estrogen with caution if you have diabetes. Estrogen may decrease insulin sensitivity, which can make your condition worse.

seizures
People who have seizures

Use estrogen with caution if you have a condition that causes seizures. Estrogen can increase fluid buildup, which can make your condition worse.

migraines
People who have migraines

Use estrogen with caution if you get migraine headaches. Estrogen can increase fluid buildup, which can make your condition worse.

porphyria
People with porphyria

Use estrogen with caution if you have porphyria. It may make your condition worse.

lupus
People with lupus

Use estrogen with caution if you have lupus. It may make your condition worse. Estrogens increase the risk of clot formation. People with lupus also have an increased risk of clot formation. Together they both increase clot risk.

pregnant women
Pregnant women

This drug is a category X pregnancy drug. Category X drugs should never be used during pregnancy.

Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. If you become pregnant, you’ll need to stop taking estrogen.

breastfeeding
Women who are breast-feeding

This drug may pass into breast milk. It may decrease the quantity and quality of the milk. It can also cause serious effects in a breastfeeding child.

You and your doctor may need to decide if you’ll take this drug or breastfeed.

for seniors
For seniors

Women aged 65 years and older may be at increased risk for dementia or Alzheimer’s disease when using estrogen.

As you age, your organs (such as your liver or kidneys) don’t work as well as they once did. This may cause your body to process this drug more slowly.

for children
For children

The safety and effectiveness of this drug haven’t been established in people younger than 18 years.

allergies
Allergies

This drug can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue
  • hives

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal.

SECTION 4 of 4

How to Take esterified-estrogens (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Symptoms of menopause

Brand: Menest

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 0.3 mg, 0.625 mg, 1.25 mg, 2.5 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

Vasomotor symptoms (such as hot flashes, night sweats):

  • The recommended dose is 1.25 mg taken by mouth once per day in cycles. You’ll take the medication for 3 weeks, stop taking it for 1 week, and then start taking it again.
  • If you haven’t had a menstrual period within the last 2 months or more, begin your dosage cycles as directed by your doctor.
  • If you have a regular menstrual period, begin the dosage cycle on the fifth day of your menstrual cycle.

Vaginal itching, dryness, or burning:

The recommended dose range is 0.3–1.25 mg or more taken once per day in cycles. You’ll take the medication for 3 weeks, stop taking it for 1 week, and then start taking it again. Your doctor will decide your dose based on your response to treatment.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medicine hasn’t been studied in children and shouldn’t be used in people under the age of 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or you may need a different schedule.

Female hypogonadism

Brand: Menest

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 0.3 mg, 0.625 mg, 1.25 mg, 2.5 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • The recommended dose is 2.5–7.5 mg per day, taken in one dose or two divided doses. You’ll take this drug for 20 days, followed by a 10-day rest period where you don’t take the drug.
  • If your menstrual period doesn’t start by the end of the rest period, repeat the same dosing schedule.
  • If your menstrual period starts before the end of the rest period, take 2.5–7.5  mg per day, taken in one dose or two divided doses, for 20 days. During the last 5 days of treatment, you’ll also take progestin. If your menstrual period starts before the end of the treatment cycle, stop treatment and start again on the fifth day of your period.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medicine hasn’t been studied in children and shouldn’t be used in people under the age of 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or you may need a different schedule.

Primary ovarian failure

Brand: Menest

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 0.3 mg, 0.625 mg, 1.25 mg, 2.5 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

The recommended dose is 1.25 mg taken by mouth once per day in cycles. You’ll take the medication for 3 weeks, stop taking it for 1 week, and then start taking it again.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medicine hasn’t been studied in children and shouldn’t be used in people under the age of 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or you may need a different schedule.

Advanced breast cancer

Brand: Menest

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 0.3 mg, 0.625 mg, 1.25 mg, 2.5 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

The recommended dose is 10 mg taken by mouth three times per day for at least three months.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medicine hasn’t been studied in children and shouldn’t be used in people under the age of 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or you may need a different schedule.

Advanced prostate cancer

Brand: Menest

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 0.3 mg, 0.625 mg, 1.25 mg, 2.5 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

The recommended dose is 1.25–2.5 mg taken by mouth three times per day.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medicine hasn’t been studied in children and shouldn’t be used in people under the age of 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or you may need a different schedule.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

This drug comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you don’t take it at all or stop taking it

It’s important to continue taking your medication as directed by your doctor, even if you feel better. Doing so will provide the best chance of managing your symptoms and improving your quality of life. If you don’t take it, your symptoms will return.

If you take too much

If you take too much estrogen, you may have nausea and vomiting. Women may also have withdrawal vaginal bleeding. If you think you’ve taken too much, call your doctor.

What to do if you miss a dose

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible. If it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose, and take only one dose at your normally scheduled time.

Don’t take two doses at once to make up for the missed dose. This could cause toxic side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

If you’re taking this drug to treat symptoms of menopause, you should feel more comfortable. You may also have fewer symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, night sweats, or vaginal dryness.

If you’re taking this drug to treat female hypogonadism, your doctor may do blood tests to check your hormone levels to tell if the medication is working.

You should also feel more comfortable, and have fewer symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, or vaginal dryness.

If you’re taking this drug to treat female castration or primary ovarian failure, your doctor may do blood tests to check your hormone levels to tell if the medication is working.

You should also feel more comfortable, and have fewer symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, or vaginal dryness.

If you’re taking this drug to treat advanced breast cancer, you should feel more comfortable and have fewer symptoms of breast cancer.

If you’re taking this drug to treat advanced prostate cancer, you should feel more comfortable and have fewer symptoms of prostate cancer.

This drug can be used for short-term or long-term treatment, depending on the condition that’s being treated.

Estrogen should only be used for the shortest amount of time needed. Talk with your doctor every 3–6 months to decide if you still need treatment with esterified estrogens.

Important considerations for taking this drug
can crush or cut
You can crush or cut the tablet
storage
Store esterified estrogens below 86°F (30°C)
See Details
refillable
Prescription is refillable
travel
Travel
See Details
clinical monitoring
Clinical monitoring
See Details
not usually stocked
Not every pharmacy stocks this drug, so call ahead
prior authorization
Insurance
See Details

Store esterified estrogens below 86°F (30°C)

Store this drug it in its original container and keep it tightly closed.

Keep your drugs away from areas where they could get wet, such as bathrooms. Store this drug away from moisture and damp locations.

Travel

Always carry your medication with you. Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They can’t hurt this medication. You may need to show your pharmacy’s label to clearly identify the medication. Keep the original prescription label with you when traveling. Don’t leave this medicine in the car, especially when the temperature is hot or freezing.

Clinical monitoring

Your doctor may do certain tests. Your doctor may do tests that check your hormone levels, such as estradiol and follicle stimulating hormone.

Insurance

Many insurance companies will require a prior authorization before they approve the prescription and pay for this drug.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.


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Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on August 14, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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