Specific Safety Issues With Elestrin

Specific Precautions and Warnings for Elestrin

Some of the warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to using Elestrin include the following:
 
  • Elestrin is an estrogen medication. Even though it is applied to the skin instead of taken by mouth, it is still significantly absorbed into the bloodstream and carries all the usual risks of estrogen medications.
     
  • For women who still have a uterus (who have not had a hysterectomy), taking Elestrin alone (without a progestin) increases the risk of endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus). Women who still have a uterus should take Elestrin with a progestin medication.
     
  • Let your healthcare provider know if you have abnormal vaginal bleeding (such as very heavy bleeding) while taking Elestrin, as this may be a sign of precancerous or cancerous changes in the uterus. Your healthcare provider can perform the necessary tests to rule out cancer.
     
  • Estrogens (such as Elestrin) should never be used to prevent heart disease (see Hormone Replacement Therapy and Heart Health for more information), as they are not effective for this use.
     
  • Studies have shown that estrogen hormone replacement therapy (such as Elestrin) increases the risk of strokes and blood clots in the legs.
     
  • Your healthcare provider should make sure that you are appropriately treated for any risk factors for heart disease (such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, or smoking) or blood clots before you take Elestrin. When possible, Elestrin should be stopped four to six weeks before many surgeries, in order to help prevent blood clots.
     
  • Estrogen drugs (such as Elestrin) used with or without a progestin may increase the risk of breast cancer. Proper screening and monitoring (as determined by your healthcare provider), such as yearly mammograms and monthly breast self-exams, is recommended.
     
  • Estrogen drugs (such as Elestrin) used with or without a progestin seem to increase the risk of dementia. In no case should Elestrin be used to prevent or treat dementia (it is not effective for this use).
     
  • Elestrin may worsen epilepsy, porphyria, asthma, diabetes, migraine headaches, lupus, and hepatic hemangiomas.
     
  • Women who take estrogen (such as Elestrin) have an increased risk for gallbladder disease.
     
  • Let your healthcare provider know right away if you notice any vision changes. This can signal a blood clot in the retina, a possible side effect of Elestrin.
     
  • Elestrin can cause high blood pressure (hypertension) or high triglycerides in some women. Your healthcare provider should monitor you for these problems.
     
  • If you have had jaundice (yellowing of the whites of the eyes or skin) due to estrogens or pregnancy in the past, it is possible that Elestrin will cause similar problems to recur. If this happens, your healthcare provider will probably advise you to stop taking Elestrin.
     
  • If you have an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), Elestrin may increase your body's requirement for thyroid hormones. Your healthcare provider should monitor you and adjust the dose of your thyroid medications as necessary.
     
  • Elestrin can cause fluid retention. This can cause problems for people with congestive heart failure (CHF) or kidney problems.
     
  • Elestrin should be used with caution in people who have low calcium levels in the blood (known medically as hypocalcemia).
     
  • It is not clear whether Elestrin increases the risk of ovarian cancer. Some studies have shown an increased risk, while others have not.
     
  • Elestrin can make endometriosis symptoms worse.
     
  • Elestrin can interact with a number of different medications (see Elestrin Drug Interactions for more information).
     
  • Elestrin should not be used during pregnancy (see Elestrin and Pregnancy).
     
  • Elestrin does pass through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Elestrin and Breastfeeding).
     
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