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conjugated estrogens
Pronunciation: CON jew gay ted ESS troe jenz
Brand: Cenestin, Premarin


What is the most important information I should know about conjugated estrogens?
Conjugated estrogens increase the risk of developing a condition (endometrial hyperplasia) that may lead to cancer of the lining of the uterus. Taking progestins, another hormone drug, with conjugated estrogens lowers the risk of developing this condition. Therefore, if your uterus has not been removed, your doctor may prescribe a progestin for you to take together with the estrogen. Visit your doctor regularly and report any unusual vaginal bleeding right away.
Treatment with conjugated estrogens may increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, breast cancer, and blood clots in the lungs or legs. Because of these risks, conjugated estrogens should be prescribed at the lowest effective dose, for the shortest amount of time necessary.
Have yearly physical exams and examine your breasts for lumps on a monthly basis while taking conjugated estrogens.
Do not take conjugated estrogens if you are pregnant.


What are conjugated estrogens?
Estrogen is a female sex hormone necessary for many processes in the body.
Conjugated estrogens are used to treat symptoms of menopause; deficiency in ovary function (including underdevelopment of female sexual characteristics and some types of infertility); some types of breast cancer in men and in postmenopausal women; degeneration of the vagina; and urethra and prostate cancer. In addition, conjugated estrogens are used to prevent osteoporosis.
Conjugated estrogens may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.


What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking conjugated estrogens?
Do not take conjugated estrogens without first talking to your doctor if you have
      a circulation, bleeding, or blood-clotting disorder;
      undiagnosed, abnormal vaginal bleeding; or
      any type of breast, uterine, or hormone-dependent cancer.
Taking conjugated estrogens may be dangerous in some cases if you have any of the conditions listed above.
Before taking conjugated estrogens, tell your doctor if you have
      high blood pressure, angina, or heart disease;
      high levels of cholesterol or triglycerides in the blood;
      liver disease;
      kidney disease;
      asthma;
      epilepsy;
      migraines;
      diabetes;
      depression;
      gallbladder disease;
      uterine fibroids; or
      had a hysterectomy (uterus removed).
You may not be able to take conjugated estrogens, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of the conditions listed above.
Conjugated estrogens are in the FDA pregnancy category X. This means that conjugated estrogens are known to cause birth defects in an unborn baby. Do not take this medication if you are pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment.
Conjugated estrogens may decrease milk flow and have other effects on milk composition. Do not use this medication without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.


How should I take conjugated estrogens?
Take this medication exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these directions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.
Take each dose with a full glass of water.
Take conjugated estrogens with food or milk to lessen stomach upset. Try to take doses at the same time daily.
Have yearly physical exams and examine your breasts for lumps on a monthly basis while taking conjugated estrogens.
It is important to take conjugated estrogens regularly to get the most benefit.
Your doctor may want you to have blood tests or other medical evaluations during treatment with conjugated estrogens to monitor progress and side effects.
Store conjugated estrogens at room temperature away from moisture and heat.


What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember then return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose of this medication unless otherwise directed by your doctor.


What happens if I overdose?
An overdose of this medication is unlikely to threaten life. Consult an emergency room or poison control center for advice.
Symptoms of an overdose of conjugated estrogens include nausea, vomiting, and vaginal bleeding in females.


What should I avoid while taking conjugated estrogens?
There are no restrictions on food, beverages, or activity while taking conjugated estrogens unless your doctor directs otherwise.


What are the possible side effects of conjugated estrogens?
Conjugated estrogens increase the risk of developing a condition (endometrial hyperplasia) that may lead to cancer of the lining of the uterus. Taking progestins, another hormone drug, with conjugated estrogens lowers the risk of developing this condition. Therefore, if your uterus has not been removed, your doctor may prescribe a progestin for you to take together with the estrogen. Visit your doctor regularly and report any unusual vaginal bleeding right away.
Treatment with conjugated estrogens may increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, breast cancer, and blood clots in the lungs or legs. Because of these risks, conjugated estrogens should be prescribed at the lowest effective dose, for the shortest amount of time necessary.
If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking conjugated estrogens and seek emergency medical attention:
      an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives);
      shortness or breath or pain in the chest;
      a painful, red, or swollen leg;
      abnormal vaginal bleeding;
      pain, swelling, or tenderness in the abdomen;
      severe headache or vomiting, dizziness, faintness or changes in vision or speech;
      yellowing of the skin or eyes; or
      a lump in a breast.
Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take conjugated estrogens and talk to your doctor if you experience
      decreased appetite, nausea, or vomiting;
      swollen or tender breasts;
      acne or skin color changes;
      decreased sex drive;
      migraine headaches or dizziness;
      water retention (swollen hands, feet, or ankles);
      problems with wearing contact lenses;
      depression; or
      changes in menstrual cycle or breakthrough bleeding.
Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.


What other drugs will affect conjugated estrogens?
Before taking conjugated estrogens, tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines:
      an anticoagulant (blood thinner) such as warfarin (Coumadin);
      a thyroid medication such as levothyroxine (Synthroid, Levoxyl, Levothroid, and others);
      insulin or an oral diabetes medicine such as glipizide (Glucotrol) or glyburide (Diabeta, Micronase);
      tamoxifen (Nolvadex);
      didanosine (Videx);
      phenytoin (Dilantin) or ethotoin (Peganone);
      carbamazepine (Tegretol);
      phenobarbital (Solfoton, Luminal);
      primidone (Mysoline); or
      rifampin (Rifadin).
A dosage adjustment or special monitoring may be required during treatment if you are taking any of the medicines listed above.
Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with conjugated estrogens. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including herbal products.


Where can I get more information?
Your pharmacist has additional information about conjugated estrogens written for health professionals that you may read.

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