Prempro is a prescription medication approved to treat menopausal symptoms in women who still have a uterus. This medication contains a mixture of natural estrogen hormones, as well as a progestin hormone. Prempro comes in tablet form and is taken once a day. Possible side effects of the drug include headaches, breast pain, and back pain.
What Is Prempro?Prempro™ (conjugated estrogens/medroxyprogesterone) is a prescription medication that contains a mixture of natural estrogen hormones (the same hormones in Premarin®), along with a progestin hormone. It is approved for the following uses:
- Treating moderate to severe hot flashes due to menopause
- Treating moderate to severe itching, burning, or dryness in or around the vagina due to menopause
- Preventing osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.
Prempro is only approved for use in women who still have a uterus (who have not had a hysterectomy).
How Does It Work?During and after menopause, women experience a drop in estrogen levels, as well as a shift in the balance of estrogens that the body produces. Before menopause, the ovaries produce the main source of estrogen, and the main type of estrogen produced is known as estradiol. After menopause, the main source of estrogen is androstenedione, which is produced by the adrenal gland and is converted into an estrogen known as estrone. Menopausal symptoms and changes result from the decrease in estrogen and the shift from estradiol to estrone.
Prempro is a mixture of natural equine (horse) estrogens, combined with a progestin hormone (medroxyprogesterone). It helps relieve menopausal symptoms by replacing the estrogen and progesterone that the ovaries no longer produce. Because estrogen helps keep the bones strong, the decrease in estrogen during menopause causes a significant weakening of the bones, often resulting in osteoporosis. By providing estrogen, Prempro can help prevent these menopause-related bone changes.
Medroxyprogesterone, which is a progestin, is added to Prempro because giving estrogens without a progestin to postmenopausal women can increase the risk of cancer of the lining of the uterus. Of course, this applies only to women who still have a uterus (who have not had a hysterectomy). For women without a uterus, the medroxyprogesterone component is usually considered unnecessary.