Menest is approved as a type of hormone replacement therapy. It is licensed for treating menopausal symptoms, reducing the symptoms of certain cancers, and treating hormonal deficiency in younger women whose ovaries do not produce enough estrogen. The drug comes in tablet form and is available in several strengths. Potential side effects include nausea, abdominal pain, and vaginal bleeding.
What Is Menest?
Menest® (esterified estrogens) is a prescription hormone replacement medication. Although it is most often used as a hormone replacement for menopausal women, it is approved for several different uses. Approved uses include:
- Treating menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness
- Replacing hormones in younger women whose ovaries do not produce enough estrogen, or who have had their ovaries removed
- Reducing the symptoms of certain cancers (in both men and women) that have spread throughout the body.
Who Makes Menest?
Menest tablets are made by Monarch Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a division of King Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
How Does This Medication Work?
Menest contains a mixture of different estrogens, which are derived from plant sources. It helps to relieve menopausal symptoms by replacing the estrogen that the ovaries no longer produce. Because estrogen helps keep the bones strong, the decrease during menopause causes a significant weakening of the bones, often resulting in osteoporosis. Menest can help prevent these menopause-related bone changes.
Very high doses of Menest can work to relieve the symptoms of certain cancers, including breast and prostate cancer. For prostate cancer, high doses of the estrogens in the medication work by suppressing testosterone and other male hormones that "feed" prostate cancer.
It is not entirely clear how high doses of Menest work for breast cancer, as estrogen usually stimulates cancer cell growth. This drug will not cure these types of cancers and should only be used to relieve symptoms when other treatments have failed to treat the disease adequately.