Transdermal estradiol is prescribed for the management of hot flashes in menopausal women, signifying the cessation of monthly menstrual periods. It is also utilized as a preventive measure against osteoporosis in menopausal women. Transdermal estradiol additionally serves as a supplemental source of estrogen for premenopausal women who have insufficient natural estrogen production.
This medication belongs to a category of drugs known as estrogen hormones, functioning by replenishing the body’s diminished estrogen levels.
Uses and Dosage
Transdermal estradiol is administered through a patch that is applied to the skin. The frequency of application varies depending on the specific brand of patch being used, typically ranging from once to twice a week. Some women wear the patch continuously, while others follow a rotating schedule of wearing the patch for three weeks followed by one week without wearing it.
Consistently apply the transdermal patch on the same day(s) every week, and a calendar provided with the medication can aid in keeping track of the patch change schedule. Transdermal estradiol must be used exactly as directed, without applying more or fewer patches or using them more frequently than prescribed by your doctor.
Initially, your doctor will likely prescribe a low dose of transdermal estradiol and may adjust the dosage if your symptoms persist. If you are already using or taking another estrogen medication, your doctor will guide you on transitioning to transdermal estradiol.
When applying estradiol patches, ensure that the skin in the lower stomach area below the waistline, or possibly the upper buttocks depending on the brand, is clean, dry, and cool.
Avoid applying estradiol patches to the breasts or to skin that is oily, damaged, cut, or irritated. Avoid areas where the patches may rub off due to tight clothing or sitting on the lower buttocks. You must leave the area where the estradiol patch will be applied free from lotions, powders, or creams.
After applying a patch to a particular area, allow at least one week before applying another patch to that spot.
Consult your doctor, pharmacist, or the manufacturer’s information accompanying your medication to ascertain if any precautions are necessary during activities such as swimming, bathing, showering, or using a sauna while wearing the estradiol transdermal patch. While some brands of patches are unaffected by these activities, others may become loose.
In the event that the patch becomes loose or falls off before the designated replacement time, attempt to reattach it by gently pressing it back onto the skin using your fingers. Exercise caution to avoid touching the adhesive side of the patch with your fingers during this process. If reattachment is not possible, fold the patch in half, ensuring it adheres to itself, and safely dispose of it out of the reach of children and pets. Apply a fresh patch to a different area and adhere to the next scheduled patch change day.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- breast pain or tenderness
- weight gain or loss
- hair loss
- redness or irritation of the skin that was covered by the estradiol patch
- swelling, redness, burning, irritation or itching of the vagina
- vaginal discharge
- painful menstrual periods
- changes in mood
- change in sexual desire
- back, neck, or muscle pain
- runny nose or congestion
- darkening of skin on face (may not go away even after you stop using transdermal estradiol)
- unwanted hair growth
- difficulty wearing contact lenses
- joint pain
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- loss of appetite
- stomach tenderness, pain, or swelling
- rash, blisters on skin, or other skin changes
- swelling, of the eyes, face, lips, tongue, throat, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
Prior to initiating estradiol treatment, inform your doctor or pharmacist about any known allergies to estradiol or other substances. This product may contain inactive ingredients that can trigger allergic reactions or other complications.
Before using this medication, disclose your medical history to your doctor or pharmacist, particularly if you have experienced vaginal bleeding of unknown cause, certain types of cancers (such as breast, uterine, or ovarian cancer), blood clots, stroke, heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, a family history of breast lumps, cancer, or blood clots, a family or personal history of a swelling disorder called angioedema, blood clotting disorders, high blood pressure, diabetes, high levels of cholesterol/triglycerides, obesity, lupus, underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), imbalances in minerals, a specific hormonal problem called hypoparathyroidism, uterine problems, gallbladder disease, asthma, seizures, migraine headaches, a blood disorder known as porphyria, or mental/mood disorders.
Refrain from smoking or using tobacco products, as the combination of estrogen use and smoking significantly elevates the risk of stroke, blood clots, high blood pressure, and heart attack, particularly in women above the age of 35.
Notify your doctor if you have recently undergone surgery, will be undergoing surgery, or will be immobile for an extended period (such as during a long plane flight). These circumstances increase the risk of developing blood clots, especially when using estrogen products. You may need to discontinue this medication temporarily or take specific precautions.
This medication may cause the appearance of blotchy, dark areas on the face and skin, a condition known as melasma. Exposure to sunlight can exacerbate this effect. Limit sun exposure, avoid tanning booths and sunlamps, and use sunscreen and protective clothing when outdoors.
Individuals who are nearsighted or wear contact lenses may experience vision problems or difficulty wearing contact lenses while using this medication. Contact your eye doctor if you encounter such issues.
If you are scheduled for an MRI test, inform the testing personnel that you are using the estradiol patch. Certain patches may contain metals that can cause severe burns during an MRI. Consult your doctor to determine whether you should remove the patch before the test and apply a new one afterward, and follow the proper instructions for doing so.
Children may exhibit increased sensitivity to the side effects of this drug, which can potentially affect their growth and development. Discuss the potential effects of this medication with the doctor and periodically monitor your child’s growth.
This medication should not be used during pregnancy. If you become pregnant or suspect that you are pregnant, promptly inform your doctor.
Estradiol passes into breast milk and may affect the quality and quantity of breast milk produced. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding while using this medication.
Form and Strength
Climara Patch is available in the following forms and strengths:
Climara Patch patch:
How long does it take for the Climara Patch to work?
Onset of efficacy is within 1 to 2 weeks after the start of therapy and that efficacy is fully sustained during the 7-day patch wear period with some diminution of effect during the treatment-free week of each cycle.
Can I swim or take a bath while wearing the Climara Patch?
You shouldn’t swim, take a bath, or use a sauna if you use the once-weekly version of the estradiol patch, as this could affect how your body absorbs the medication. These activities are safe to do if you use the twice-weekly patches.