Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
- Pill or tablet
- Vaginal cream
- Vaginal ring insert
- Skin gel
- Pill (can be combined with estrogen)
- Intrauterine device (IUD)
- Vaginal capsule
- Skin gel
What This Medication Is Prescribed For
To Ease Menopausal Symptoms
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness
To Reduce the Risk of Osteoporosis and Related Fractures
How This Medication Works
- Reduce the symptoms of menopause
- Helps to slow or prevent the bone loss that occurs with aging and increases after menopause, in order to help delay osteoporosis
- Helps to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer
Precautions While Using This Medication
- Unexplained vaginal bleeding
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- High levels of triglycerides—a type of fat in the blood
- History of blood clots in the veins
- History of breast or uterine cancer
- History of cardiovascular disease
- History of stroke
- Other conditions—ask your doctor if any of your medical conditions increase the risks of taking HRT
Proper Usage and Missed Dose
- Cyclic or sequential—Pills are taken every day for a set number of days. A higher dose (than that used in continuous doses) of progestin is given for 10-14 days. One or both hormones are stopped for a specified period of time. This pattern is repeated every month, and it causes regular monthly bleeding like a light menstrual period.
- Continuous—Low-dose estrogen and progestin are taken together every day of the month without any break. Vaginal bleeding often occurs, sometimes for up to a year when this schedule is first started, and can vary from light spotting to irregular menstrual-type bleeding.
- Pill form—If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
- Skin patch—If you forget to apply a new patch when you are supposed to, apply it as soon as possible. Then go back to replacing the patch on the same day of the week as before. Do not apply more than one patch at a time.
Possible Side Effects
- Breast tenderness
- Return of monthly periods
- Swelling of feet and lower legs
- Rapid weight gain
Other Uses for This Medication
- Osteoporosis caused by lack of estrogen before menopause
- Turner's syndrome—a genetic disease
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists http://www.acog.org
Healthy Women—National Women's Health Resource Center, Inc. http://www.healthywomen.org
Canadian Women's Health Network http://www.cwhn.ca
Women's Health Matters http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca
Furie KL, Kasner SE, Adams RJ, et al. Guidelines for the Prevention of Stroke in Patients With Stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack: A Guideline for Healthcare Professionals From the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke. 2010 October 21. Available at: http://stroke.ahajournals.org/cgi/reprint/STR.0b013e3181f7d043v1. Updated October 21, 2010. Accessed February 6, 2015.
Hormonal replacement therapy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 2, 2014. Accessed February 6, 2015.
Hormonal replacement therapy doses and preparations. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated November 13, 2012. Accessed February 6, 2015.
Hormones and menopause. National Institute on Aging website. Available at: http://www.nia.nih.gov/HealthInformation/Publications/hormones.htm. Updated January 22, 2015. Accessed February 6, 2015.
Menopause. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated February 5, 2015. Accessed February 6, 2015
Menopause. Women's Health—US Department of Health and Human Services website. Available at: http://womenshealth.gov/menopause/symptom-relief-treatment/menopausal-hormone-therapy.html. Updated September 22, 2010. Accessed February 6, 2015.
Menopause and hormones. US Food and Drug Aministration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ByAudience/ForWomen/ucm118624.htm. Updated December 2, 2014. Accessed February 6, 2015.
Turner syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 20, 2015. Accessed February 6, 2015.
Schierbeck LL, Rejnmark L, Tofteng CL, Stilgren L, Eiken P, Mosekilde L, Køber L, Jensen JE. Effect of hormone replacement therapy on cardiovascular events in recently postmenopausal women: randomised trial. BMJ. 2012 Oct 9;345.
9/30/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Jacobson BC, Moy B, Colditz GA, Fuchs CS. Postmenopausal hormone use and symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux. Arch Intern Med. 2008;168:1798-1804.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 01/2015 -
- Update Date: 02/06/2015 -