Estradiol and norethindrone is a combination drug with two hormones: progestin, which is norethindrone, and estrogen, which is estradiol. A doctor may prescribe this pill to alleviate symptoms of menopause in women who have not undergone a hysterectomy. These symptoms can include hot flashes and vaginal discomfort, such as itching, burning, or dryness. In addition, it may also help prevent bone loss, or osteoporosis, in patients who cannot tolerate other osteoporosis medications.
Hormone replacement therapies (HRT) have been linked to serious medical problems, especially when taken for a long period of time and in high dosages. Women should talk to their doctors about the risks of developing ovarian and breast cancer. Combination HRT has also been linked to strokes, dangerous blood clots, and heart disease. Patients should see a doctor regularly while using this medication to check for possible complications.
This pill is typically taken by mouth once daily. It may be taken with or without food. Women who regularly consume grapefruit, grapefruit juice, or similar products should discuss this with their doctors, because they may interact with estradiol and norethindrone. The use of calcium and vitamin D supplements should also be discussed with a physician. Patients who are diabetic should be aware that this combination HRT may affect blood sugar levels.
Some side effects may occur while taking estradiol and norethindrone, which should be reported to the prescribing physician if they become severe. Patients may experience changes in vaginal discharge, weight changes, and an increased or decreased libido. Some women may notice breast tenderness, insomnia or other changes in sleep patterns, and nausea. An upset stomach, bloating, and dizziness have also been reported.
More serious side effects require immediate medical attention. Patients should go to the emergency room if they experience slurred speech, sudden vision changes, or coughing up blood. Fainting, chest or jaw pain, and weakness on one side of the body have also been reported. Estradiol and norethindrone may also rarely cause breast lumps, nipple discharge, and unusual vaginal bleeding. Jaundice, worsening seizures, and worsening control of blood sugar levels in diabetics have also been rarely reported.
Before taking estradiol and norethindrone to treat symptoms of menopause, patients must disclose their other medical conditions, medications, and supplements. It is not intended for use by women who are pregnant and it may also pass into breast milk. This pill may be contraindicated for use by those who have uterus problems, high cholesterol, or heart disease. Estradiol and norethindrone may interact with other medications, including St. John's wort, corticosteroids, and certain antibiotics.