Each of these medications can control various menopause symptoms including hot flashes and vaginal changes. This article explains some important differences and similarities between the medications.
The Advantages of Estrogen Hormone Therapy
Found in both men and women, estrogen is a naturally occurring hormone that plays an important role in managing the reproductive system, protecting the bones, and helping the skin heal from bruises and injuries. As people age, estrogen production sometimes slows down which results in not enough estrogen. If a person’s estrogen levels or low, medical professionals might prescribe hormone therapy to replace estrogen levels and ease symptoms.
Some benefits people realize by undergoing estrogen hormone therapy include:
- Reduces menopause symptoms. The amount of estrogen in the human body changes over time. During puberty, the body begins producing estrogen. During the childbirth years, estrogen remains at higher levels. As a person approaches menopause, estrogen levels decline. Some of the symptoms commonly associated with estrogen include chills, difficulty sleeping, excessive sweating, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness. By replacing estrogen with hormone therapy, a person can greatly reduce the number and extent of menopause symptoms.
- Improved vaginal health. Among its many roles, estrogen helps to improve vaginal health. When estrogen levels decline, many people experience changes to the lining, tissue, and pH balance of their vagina. These declined levels can result in several effects including vaginal dryness and vulvar atrophy. Estrogen hormone therapy can be used to treat this condition.
- Help with ovary issues. The ovaries are responsible for producing estrogen, but if they fail to produce the hormone then hormone therapy might help. Some situations that frequently require estrogen hormone therapy include decreased function of the ovaries, failure of both ovaries, or the surgical removal of both ovaries.
- Protect a person’s bones. Estrogen can help to decrease bone loss after menopause. While many medical professionals have begun to rely on newer types of medication to combat bone loss, these medications are sometimes not as effective or have serious side effects. In these situations, medical professionals sometimes recommend estrogen to treat osteoporosis or bone loss
How Premarin Is Used
Premarin is a brand name for conjugated estrogen, which contains a combination of estrogen hormones. Much like Estrace, Premarin can be used to treat menopause symptoms, reduce the risk of osteoporosis, and combat breast and prostate cancer in some men and women. Available as an intravenous injection, an oral tablet, or vaginal cream, the dosing of Premarin changes based on its purpose. It is a good idea for people with a history of cardiovascular disorders to avoid Premarin.
The Role of Estrace
Estrace contains a type of estrogen called estradiol, which is a critical female hormone that helps to mature and maintain the reproductive system. While Estrace is used to treat menopause symptoms, it can also help reduce the chances of osteoporosis diagnosis in women. In some situations, Estrace can be used for breast and prostate cancer treatments. Available as an oral tablet or vaginal cream, the dosage requirements for Estrace depend on a person’s medical condition. Because Estrace increases the risk of blood clots, the medication should not be prescribed to people with cardiovascular disorders.
Premarin and Estrace Compared
Some important differences between Premarin and Estrace including:
- Both medications are used for cancer treatment, menopause symptom treatment, and to reduce osteoporosis.
- Common side effects. The two medications have nearly all the same common side effects including headaches, fatigue, breast pain, vaginal pain, back pain, depression, insomnia, vaginitis, nausea, flatulence, weight gain, edema, bloating, changes in menstrual bleeding, and upper respiratory tract infections.
- Drug interactions. Both medications have adverse effects with CYP3A4 inducers, which include St. John’s Wort, phenobarbital, phenytoin, carbamazepine, rifampin, and dexamethasone. The medications also have adverse side effects with CYP3A4 inhibitors including clarithromycin, erythromycin, ketoconazole, itraconazole, cimetidine, ritonavir, and grapefruit juice.
- Generic versions. The generic form of Estrace is Estradiol. Premarin has no generic version.
- Dosage form. Both Estrace and Premarin are available as oral tablets or vaginal creams. Premarin is also available as an intravenous solution. While medication forms might seem like a small issue, some forms can work much better than others. For example, most people take estrogen as a pill because it is easy to take in this form and often presents little complications. For people with liver or cholesterol problems, however, estrogen creams are an attractive option because they can be absorbed through the skin and need not pass through a person’s bloodstream.
- Estrace costs $178 for a supply of 30, 1 mg oral tablets, while Premarin is available for the average price of 30, .625 mg tablets. Consequently, Premarin is more expensive.
- Pre-existing Conditions. Both medications have the potential to worsen some pre-existing conditions including asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high triglycerides. The medications are not recommended for patients who have histories of blood clots, histories of heart diseases, histories of reproductive cancer, or undiagnosed vaginal bleeding.
- Pregnancy risks. Both medications are classified in Pregnancy Category X and can cause fetal harm. Category X means that studies in animals or humans have demonstrated fetal abnormalities or positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data. As a result, the risk of these drugs among pregnant women substantially outweigh the benefits.
- Both medications increase a person’s risk of blood clots, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, dementia, endometrial cancer, strokes, and uterine cancer. As a result, people who are concerned about these risks should carefully weigh their advantages and disadvantages.
The best way to create a great healthcare plan is to speak openly and honestly with your medical professional. By sharing these details, your medical professional can help make decisions regarding medications, dosages, and surgery. While it can be difficult to choose on the estrogen medication that works best, a medical professional can help you decide what choice is best for you.