What is Premarin?
Premarin is a treatment for HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) and is used to treat symptoms associated with the menopause. It can also help to prevent osteoporosis after menopause.
It only tends to be prescribed to women whose symptoms are seriously affecting their daily life.
Premarin is available in 0.3 mg, 0.625 mg and 1.25 mg tablets. You should be sure to take the strength prescribed for you by your doctor.
You shouldn’t take Premarin if:
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding
- You are allergic to any of the ingredients
- You have or have ever had breast cancer
- You have cancer which is sensitive to oestrogens, such as cancer of the lining of the womb (endometrium)
- You have ever had a blood clot in a vein (thrombosis)
- You have a blood clotting disorder
- You have recently had a disease caused by blood clots in the arteries, such as a heart attack, stroke or angina
- You have a rare blood problem called “porphyria” which is passed down through families
- You have any unexplained vaginal bleeding
- You have excessive thickening of the womb lining (endometrial hyperplasia) that is not being treated
- You have or have previously had liver disease
How does Premarin work?
The female body produces the hormones oestrogen and progesterone, but this lessens considerably during the menopause. This is what can cause the unpleasant symptoms associated with menopause such as hot flushes, mood swings and night sweats.
Premarin contains conjugated estrogens, which replace the natural female hormone oestrogen. Because Premarin only contains oestrogen, it’s usually just prescribed to women who have had a hysterectomy in the past and so no longer have their womb. This is because oestrogen-only HRT products can increase your risk of womb cancer.
If you do still have a womb, your doctor will prescribe a product containing progestogen alongside Premarin to help counteract this increased risk.
How do you take Premarin?
You should always take Premarin HRT treatment as prescribed by your doctor. Unless your doctor has prescribed a different amount, the usual Premarin dosage is one tablet per day. Swallow your tablet whole with water.
Try to take your Premarin tablet at the same time each day, as this should make it easier to remember to take your HRT medication. If you forget to take your tablet at the usual time, take it as soon as you remember, but never take a double dose to make up for a forgotten tablet.
If you’re not already taking an HRT product, or you are taking an HRT medication that doesn’t give you a monthly bleed, you can start taking Premarin at any convenient time.
If you are already taking HRT or you take medication that gives you a monthly bleed, you should start Premarin the day after you finish your previous course of HRT.
Avoid drinking grapefruit juice when you are taking this medication as it can affect the way Premarin works.
How effective is Premarin?
Premarin is a clinically proven HRT treatment as long as it is taken as prescribed.
Your doctor will try to make sure you are on the lowest dosage possible to control your symptoms, so it’s important you have regular check-ups with your GP so they can monitor your symptoms accurately.
You can also make some lifestyle changes to help ease your menopausal symptoms. These include giving up smoking, eating as healthily as possible (including cutting down on alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods), exercising regularly, using a vaginal lubricant and trying to reduce your stress levels.
What are the main side effects of Premarin?
Like all medicines, Premarin can cause side effects, although not everyone will experience them. With HRT, side effects are generally temporary, but you should speak to your doctor if you have any concerns.
Three of the most common side effects of Premarin are:
- Breakthrough bleeding or spotting
- A tendency to get thrush
- Breast pain or swelling
HRT tablets can increase your likelihood of developing a blood clot, but this isn’t the case with HRT patches or gels. Make sure you have discussed all the risks with your doctor before you start taking HRT.
The following diseases are more likely to be reported in women taking HRT than those that aren’t:
- breast cancer
- endometrial hyperplasia / cancer (abnormal growth / cancer of the womb lining)
- ovarian cancer
- venous thromboembolism (blood clots in the veins of the legs or lungs)
- heart disease
- probable memory loss if HRT is started over the age of 65
For a full list of Premarin side effects, please see the patient information leaflet.