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What Is Estradiol Valerate?

By Jacquelyn Gilchrist
Updated May 17, 2024
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Estradiol valerate is a generic medication commonly marketed under the brand name Delestrogen®. It is prescribed to women to treat symptoms of menopause, such as vaginal itching, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness. A doctor may also prescribe it to men who have specific types of prostate cancer. Estradiol valerate is a synthetic form of estrogen, a hormone naturally made in the body.

This medication is only available as an injection administered by a health care professional, or the doctor may teach the patient to administer it at home. Men who use estradiol valerate for prostate cancer will usually receive an injection once every week or two. Women using this drug will typically have a dose every three to four weeks. Menopausal symptoms should be alleviated within one to five days following the initial dose.

Before using estradiol valerate, patients should fully understand the potential for serious risks. Taking estrogen can elevate the risk of endometrial cancer. Those who take this estrogen injection along with another hormone, progestin, will also be at an increased risk for breast cancer, dementia, and heart attacks, along with strokes. To help lower the risks of developing these conditions, patients should only take the lowest effective dose for the shortest time possible.

Some serious side effects may occur while taking estradiol valerate that may be indicative of the development of a more serious health problem. Patients should immediately contact their doctors if they experience sudden, severe vomiting, a severe headache, or dizziness. Fainting, speech problems, and sudden vision loss may also occur. Crushing chest pain, coughing up blood, and sudden shortness of breath, along with redness or tenderness in one leg have also been reported. Other serious symptoms can include nipple discharge, lumps in the breast, and other changes of the breast, as well as unusual vaginal discharge or bleeding.

While taking estradiol valerate, patients should take measures to help protect their health. The doctor will order periodic lab tests and physical exams. Women should have regular Pap tests and pelvic exams, as well as mammograms as recommended by their doctors. Prolonged sun exposure should be avoided, because estradiol valerate may be more likely to cause dark patches on the skin called melasma. Patients must inform the prescribing physician if they plan to take a long airplane flight, if they are confined to bed rest, or if they will be undergoing surgery.

Those taking this injection must discuss their other medical conditions with their doctors before using it. Estradiol valerate may interfere with blood sugar levels, which can be problematic for diabetics. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should never use this medicine. Those who have endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or migraine headaches may be unable to use it.

Other medications and supplements must also be disclosed before a patient uses this estrogen injection. It may interact with St. John's wort, antifungals, and cyclosporine. Ketoconazole, fluoxetine, and medications for depression may also interact with it.

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