Conjugated estrogens are used for treating the symptoms of menopause including hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and vaginal atrophy. They also are used as therapy when the body does not produce enough estrogen due to castration, ovarian failure or underdevelopment of hormone-secreting organs (hypogonadism). Conjugated estrogens also may be beneficial in treating advanced prostate and breast cancer. Although estrogens are approved for treating osteoporosis, other drugs usually are prescribed for this purpose.
How to use
Tablets: 0.3, 0.45, 0.625, 0.9, and 1.25 mg. To minimize side effects, the lowest effective oral dose of conjugated estrogens is used. The usual starting dose for treating symptoms associated with menopause and for preventing postmenopausal osteoporosis is 0.3 mg/day. The dose should be increased based on the response of patients' symptoms.
Hypogonadism is treated with doses of 0.3 mg or 0.625 daily with a cyclical interval of three weeks on treatment followed by one week off treatment. The dose for women who have been castrated or have ovarian failure is 1.25 mg daily in a cyclical interval of three weeks on treatment and one week off treatment. (In reality, most women take estrogens continuously since during the week off treatment, symptoms return because of the lack of estrogen.) For treatment of breast cancer the recommended dose is 10 mg daily for three months.
Drug Class and Mechanism
Estrogens are one of the two major classes of female hormones. (Progestins comprise the second major class.) Estrogens are used primarily to treat the symptoms of menopause and states in which there is a deficiency of estrogen, for example, in women who have had their ovaries removed.
Conjugated equine estrogens are a mixture of several different estrogens that are derived from the urine of pregnant mares. Estrogens have widespread effects on many tissues in the body. Estrogens cause growth and development of the female sexual organs and maintain female sexual characteristics such as the growth of underarm and pubic hair and the shape of body contours and skeleton. Estrogens also increase secretions from the cervix and growth of the inner lining of the uterus (endometrium).
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember then return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose of this medication unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
Conjugated equine estrogens should be stored at room temperature between 15-30 degrees C (59-77 degrees F).
There are no restrictions on food, beverages, or activity while taking conjugated estrogens unless your doctor directs otherwise. Estrogens should not be given to pregnant women due to the risk of harm to the fetus. Estrogens are secreted in breast milk and cause unpredictable effects in the infant. They should not be taken by women who are breast-feeding.