Munson Health
Related Information
Medications for Menopause

Back to Document

by Scholten A
The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medications listed below. Only the most general side effects are included. Ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medications as recommended by your doctor, or according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your doctor.
There are a number of prescription therapies available to treat menopause-related symptoms. The most common drug used for menopause is estrogen. This hormone helps make up for the lower levels secreted by your ovaries at menopause.
Since each person is unique, a number of factors need to be considered before you make the decision to use hormone therapies, including your family and medical history. The results of recent studies on estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) and estrogen plus progestin (hormone replacement therapy or HRT) suggest that the risks of long-term hormone replacement therapy outweigh the benefits for many women. Therefore, you need to discuss the pros and cons of treatment with your doctor.

Prescription Medications

  • Conjugated Equine Estrogens
  • Synthetic Conjugated Estrogens
  • Esterified Estrogens
  • Estropipate
  • Micronized 17-Beta Estradiol
  • Estradiol Hemihydrate
  • Estradiol Transdermal Spray
  • Progestin Oral Tablet
  • Progestin Injectable
  • Progestin Intrauterine Device (IUD)
  • Progesterone Oral Capsule
  • Progesterone: Vaginal Gel
  • Progesterone IUD
  • Oral, Continuous Cycle
  • Oral, Continuous-Combined
  • Oral, Intermittent-Combined
  • Skin Patch, Continuous Cycle
  • Skin Patch, Continuous Combined
  • Androgen Oral Tablet
  • Alendronate
  • Risedronate
  • Pamidronate
  • Etidronate
  • Denosumab
  • Raloxifene

Prescription Medications

  Estrogen Replacement Therapy (ERT)
Common names include:
  • Conjugated Equine Estrogens
  • Synthetic Conjugated Estrogens
  • Esterified Estrogens
  • Estropipate
  • Micronized 17-beta Estradiol
  • Estradiol Hemihydrate
  • Estradiol Transdermal Spray
ERT provides you with a fraction of the amount of estrogen that was produced by your ovaries before menopause. It helps reduce hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Even low doses of estradiol (given as a skin patch) may help with vaginal dryness and pain during sexual activity. It may also reduce your risk of osteoporosis. Evamist, which is a spray, is another type of low-dose estradiol that may help reduce hot flashes.
Estrogen may be administered as an oral tablet, patch, injection, pellet placed under the skin, vaginal cream, ring, tablet, or spray.
Recent scientifically strong studies now show that estrogen replacement therapy increases a woman's risk of heart disease, endometrial cancer, ovarian and breast cancers, blood clots, and stroke.
In general, you should NOT be using ERT if you have cardiac risk factors or known cardiac disease, are or may be pregnant, have a history of breast cancer or other hormone-sensitive cancer, have unexplained bleeding from your uterus, or a history of blood clotting disorders. You should also avoid long-term use of ERT. You should discuss the risks and benefits of ERT with your doctor.
Possible side effects include:
  • Uterine bleeding
  • Enlargement of benign uterine tumors
  • Sore breasts
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Nausea
  • Fluid retention
  • Headache, including migraine
  • Lightheadedness
  • Corneal changes in the eye
  • Increased risk of breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancers
  • Increased risk of heart attacks and strokes
  • Increased risk of blood clots
Progestin Oral Tablet:
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate
  • Norethindrone
  • Norethindrone Acetate
  • Norgestrel
  • Levonorgestrel
  • Megestrol Acetate
Progestin Injectable:
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate
Progestin IUD:
  • Levonorgestrel
Progesterone Oral Capsule:
  • Progesterone USP
Progesterone: Vaginal Gel:
  • Progesterone
Progesterone IUD:
  • Progesterone
Possible side effects include:
  • Fluid retention
  • Weight gain
  • Headache
  • Mood changes
Special Considerations
If you are taking medications, follow these general guidelines:
  • Take your medications as directed. Do not change the amount or the schedule.
  • Know what side effects could occur. Discuss them with your doctor.
  • Drugs can be dangerous when mixed. Talk to your doctor if you are taking more than one drug, including over-the-counter products and supplements.


The 2012 hormone therapy position statement of: The North American Menopause Society. Menopause. 2012 Mar;19(3):257-71.

Menopause. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated February 3, 2014. Accessed February 27, 2014.

Menopause. National Institute on Aging website. Available at: Updated February 13, 2014. Accessed February 27, 2014.

Menopause. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: Updated February 2013. Accessed February 27, 2014.

Osteoporosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Updated February 13, 2014. Accessed February 27, 2014.

9/16/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Huang A, Yaffe K, et al. The effect of ultralow-dose transdermal estradiol on sexual function in postmenopausal women. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2008;198:265.e1-7.

9/30/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Jacobson BC, Moy B, et al. Postmenopausal hormone use and symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux. Arch Intern Med. 2008;168:1798-1804.

11/19/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Buster JE, Koltun WD, et al. Low-dose estradiol spray to treat vasomotor symptoms: a randomized controlled trial. Obstet Gynecol. 2008;111:1343-1351.

4/14/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Archer DF, Dupont CM, et al; Study 319 Investigators. Desvenlafaxine for the treatment of vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of efficacy and safety. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2009;200:238.e1-238.e10. Epub 2009 Jan 24.

7/15/2013 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance FDA approves the first non-hormonal treatment for hot flashes associated with menopause. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: Accessed July 15, 2013.


Revision Information