Menopause Home > Safety Issues With Menostar

Specific Precautions and Warnings for Menostar

Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to using Menostar include the following:
  • It is thought that Menostar may be less likely to cause many of the problems seen with other estrogen medications, since it contains a low dose of estrogen. However, until research shows otherwise, it should be assumed that Menostar still carries such risks.
  • The medication should not be used during pregnancy (see Menostar and Pregnancy).
  • Menostar is not recommended for breastfeeding women. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Menostar and Breastfeeding).
  • Estrogens (such as Menostar) should never be used to prevent heart disease (see Hormone Replacement Therapy and Heart Health), as they are not effective for this use.
  • Studies have shown that estrogen hormone replacement therapy (such as Menostar) increases the risk of strokes and blood clots in the legs.
  • Your healthcare provider should make sure 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 Menostar. When possible, the drug should be stopped four to six weeks before many surgeries in order to help prevent blood clots.
  • For women who still have a uterus (who have not had a hysterectomy), taking Menostar alone (without a progestin) increases the risk of endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus). Women who still have a uterus who take Menostar should take a progestin medication for 14 days once every 6 to 12 months (which will cause you to have a "period"). A yearly endometrial biopsy (a test using a small sample of the uterine lining) may also be recommended in order to help detect any precancerous or cancerous changes.
  • Let your healthcare provider know if you have abnormal vaginal bleeding (such as heavy bleeding or bleeding between periods) while taking Menostar, 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.
  • Estrogen drugs (such as Menostar), 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 self breast exams, is recommended.
  • Estrogen drugs, used with or without a progestin, seem to increase the risk of dementia. In no case should Menostar be used to prevent or treat dementia, as it is not effective for this use.
  • Menostar may worsen epilepsy, porphyria, asthma, diabetes, migraine headaches, lupus, and hepatic hemangiomas.
  • Women who take estrogen have an increased risk for gallbladder disease.
  • Let your healthcare provider know right away if you notice any vision changes while taking the drug. This can signal a blood clot in the retina, a possible side effect of Menostar.
  • Menostar can cause high blood pressure (hypertension) or high triglycerides in some women. Your healthcare provider should monitor you for these problems while you are taking the drug.
  • If you have had jaundice (yellowing of the whites of the eyes or skin) due to estrogens or a pregnancy, Menostar could cause similar problems to recur. If this happens, your healthcare provider will probably advise you to stop taking the drug.
  • If you have an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), Menostar 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.
  • Menostar can cause fluid retention. This can cause problems for people with congestive heart failure (CHF) or kidney problems.
  • The medication should be used with caution in people who have low calcium levels in the blood (known medically as hypocalcemia).
  • It is not clear whether Menostar increases the risk of ovarian cancer. Some studies have shown an increased risk, while others have not.
  • Menostar can make endometriosis symptoms worse.
  • Menostar can interact with a number of different medications (see Menostar Drug Interactions).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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