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Estradiol (By mouth)

Estradiol (es-tra-DYE-ol)

Treats symptoms caused by menopause or removal of the ovaries, and treats prostate or breast cancer. Also prevents osteoporosis.

Brand Name(s):

Estrace, Gynodiol, Prefest

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to estrogen medicines, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, if you have had a blood clot, or if you have vaginal bleeding that has not been checked by a doctor. You should not use this medicine if you have had cancer of the uterus, or in certain cases of breast cancer.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to take and how often. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • You may take your medicine with food or milk to avoid stomach upset.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to take your medicine, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to take the medicine and skip the missed dose.
  • Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store the medicine at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using a blood thinner (Coumadin®).

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Although it is unlikely that a postmenopausal woman might become pregnant, you should know that using this medicine while you are pregnant could harm the unborn baby. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you have gallbladder disease, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high levels of calcium in your blood (hypercalcemia), liver disease, asthma, epilepsy, migraine headaches, kidney disease, high cholesterol, or blood clots.
  • Taking large doses of estrogens over a long period of time may increase your risk of some kinds of cancer. If you have questions about this risk, talk with your doctor.
  • Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using this medicine (usually every 6 to 12 months). Be sure to keep all appointments.
  • Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect the results of certain medical tests.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Blistering, peeling, red skin rash
  • Lumps in breast (women and men)
  • Numbness or weakness in your arm or leg, pain in your chest or leg (calf)
  • Severe headache or vomiting, dizziness, slurred speech
  • Shortness of breath, coughing up blood
  • Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet
  • Vaginal bleeding of unknown cause

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Changes in hair growth
  • Changes in your vision
  • Nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, bloated feeling
  • Swollen and tender breasts (women and men)
  • Vaginal itching or discharge

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 5/1/2020

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