ESTRADIOL VAGINAL RING (SYSTEMIC)
In this session, we will be discussing the consumer medication information for estradiol vaginal ring, trade name FemringTM.
What it’s for & How to take
Estradiol vaginal ring is used to treat full body symptoms that happen due to a lowering of estrogen during menopause. These symptoms may include hot flashes, mood swings, and vaginal dryness. This medication may also be used to treat women who are not able to produce estrogen.
This medication is also used to help prevent bone loss in women after menopause; however, if bone loss is the only symptom, other medications are safer to take and are just as effective at maintaining bone strength.
Wash and dry your hands before taking the estradiol vaginal ring out of its package. The vaginal ring is inserted high into your vagina. The package comes with clear directions and pictures on how to insert the ring. Ask your pharmacist or doctor for instruction if you have any questions.
The ring is left in place for 3 months. After 3 months, it is taken out and replaced with a new ring. Do not leave the ring in for more than 3 months. When the ring is inserted as directed you should not to be able notice that it is there. It will not interfere with sexual intercourse. If the ring falls out, rinse with warm water and re-insert. If it continues to fall out, call your doctor.
When it is time to take out your ring, hook your finger around it and pull it out. Place the used ring in a bag and discard it in the trash. Make sure it is discarded out of reach of any children or animals.
Most Important Warnings
- There is an increased risk of cancer in the uterus in women who use estrogen without also taking a progestin. Call your doctor right away at the first sign of genital bleeding.
- Estrogen therapy given by itself has been linked to an increased risk of stroke and blood clots in the legs.
- Estrogen therapy used along with progestin treatment has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, blood clots in the legs or lungs, and increased risk of breast cancer.
- Estrogen therapy, with or without progestin, has been shown to increase the chances of heart disease and dementia and should not be used for the treatment of either of these two disease states
- Estrogen, with or without progestin, should be prescribed at the lowest effective dose for the shortest duration of therapy, specific for each patient. Ask your doctor to evaluate your estradiol dose every 6 months to see if your dose may be lowered.
Other Warnings & Cautions
- Call your doctor right away if you have any signs of a blood clot, such as chest and left arm pain, shortness of breath and sweating, pain and swelling of your leg, weakness on one side of your body, slurred speech, sudden vision changes or confusion.
- Do not smoke while using estrogen therapy. Smoking will increase the risk of heart disease and blood clots in patients who use estrogen therapy, especially those over 35 years of age. If you can’t stay out of the sun, cover up with clothing and sunscreen.
- Let your doctor know if you will be confined to a chair for a long time, like on an airplane flight. This may increase your risk of a clot in your leg. Your doctor may have you take precautions to prevent a clot from forming.
- If you notice any change in your vision or have any difficulty wearing your contact lenses, notify your eye doctor as soon as possible to talk about it with them. Be sure to have a complete eye exam every year.
- Do not use this medication if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Interactions & Side Effects
- Tell your pharmacist or doctor all your medication allergies so they may determine if the estradiol vaginal ring is safe for you to use.
- Avoid dangerous drug interactions. Tell your pharmacist or doctor all the other medication you are taking, including over the counter supplements, even if you don’t take them very often.
- Ask your doctor if this medication is safe to use with your current health conditions. Tell your doctor if you have a history of heart, liver, or kidney disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, any blood clotting, vaginal bleeding, cancer, or any other medical condition.
- While using this medication, you may feel some nausea, bloating, headache or breast tenderness. If these or any other unwanted side effects persist, contact your doctor or pharmacist to talk about it with them.
- Call your doctor right away if you have any vaginal bleeding, breast lumps, vaginal irritation, yellowing of the eyes or skin or increased swelling of your hands and feet.
- Call emergency 911 if you have any symptoms of a heart attack such as chest and left arm pain, shortness of breath and sweating or if you have symptoms of a stroke such as weakness on one side of your body, slurred speech, sudden vision changes, and confusion.
If you have any questions about what you have heard, contact your pharmacist or doctor. This session does not include all the potential interactions or side effects that this medication may cause. Ask your pharmacist how your medication should be stored and how you should dispose of it when you are done taking it. Do not share your medication with anyone, ever. Remember, this is not meant to replace your counseling session with your pharmacist. In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.