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Medical Community Takes Fresh Look At Hormone Therapy For Menopause Symptoms

El Centro, California (NAPSI) - It’s a fact: up to 85 percent of menopausal women suffer from hot  flashes. While hot flashes  and other symptoms are a common rite of passage in menopause, opinions on  treatment with hormone therapy (HT) have been anything but universal, but that  is changing.

Recently, 15 top medical organizations issued a statement of agreement that  HT for the treatment of menopause symptoms is acceptable and relatively safe  for healthy, symptomatic, recently postmenopausal women.2 The statement was prepared by The  North American Menopause Society (NAMS), the American Society for  Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), and The Endocrine Society and jointly endorsed  by 12 other leading women’s health organizations. According to its authors,  the purpose of the statement was to provide reassurance in the decade-long  debate about HT, which began with the publication of the controversial  Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) in 2002.

“We believe that too many symptomatic women are missing out on the proven  benefits of hormone therapy because the results of the WHI, which studied the  long-term use of hormones to prevent chronic disease, were misinterpreted for  women with menopausal symptoms,” Dr. Margery Gass,  executive director for NAMS,  said in a press release about the joint statement. “Women and clinicians are  frustrated by the many conflicting recommendations. That’s why we initiated  this effort to bring these notable medical organizations together in  agreement regarding the use of hormone therapy.”

Health experts encourage women who are bothered by moderate to severe  menopausal symptoms to speak with their doctors about the possibility of  treatment with HT. “Physicians can help patients determine, based on their  own particular characteristics and history, whether or not they are good  candidates for hormone therapy and what type of HT will provide them the  greatest relief at the lowest risk,” Roger Lobo, MD, Past President of the  ASRM said in the press release.

If a woman thinks hormone therapy might be right for her, she should ask  her doctor about prescription estrogens which continue to be the most  effective option for relieving the discomfort of hot flashes and night sweats  associated with menopause.3  The FDA recommends the lowest effective dose with any estrogen therapy for  the shortest amount of time to achieve personal treatment goals.4 A physician may prescribe Divigel® (estradiol gel) 0.1%, a bioidentical,5 transdermal  estrogen gel with the lowest FDA-approved dose of transdermal   estradiol gel or spray (0.25 mg/day estradiol) for hot flashes.6-9 Divigel® is  used to treat moderate to severe hot flashes due to menopause. Generally,  women should be started at 0.25 mg/day of Divigel®.

For patients who are prescribed Divigel®, saving money is easy and just a few clicks  away at divigel.com. Patients can print the Patient Savings Coupon, bring it  to their local pharmacy, and pay no more than $25 on their Divigel® co-pay  amount. The Patient Savings Coupon is for eligible patients only and limited  to a maximum savings of $25 each on 12 Divigel® prescriptions. Offer expires on June 30, 2014.

Important Safety Information for  Patients

What is the most important  information I should know about Divigel® (an estrogen hormone)?

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·          <!--[endif]-->Using estrogen-alone increases your chance of  getting cancer of the uterus (womb). Report any unusual vaginal bleeding right  away while you are using Divigel®. Vaginal bleeding after menopause may be a  warning sign of cancer of the uterus (womb). Your healthcare provider should  check any unusual bleeding to find out the cause.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·          <!--[endif]-->Do not use estrogen-alone to prevent heart disease,  heart attacks, strokes or dementia (decline of brain function)

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·          <!--[endif]-->Using estrogen-alone may increase your chances  of getting strokes or blood clots

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·          <!--[endif]-->Using estrogen-alone may increase your chance  of getting dementia, based on a study of women 65 years of age or older

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·          <!--[endif]-->Do not use estrogens with progestins  to prevent heart disease, heart attacks, strokes or dementia

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·          <!--[endif]-->Using estrogens with progestins  may increase your chances of getting heart attacks, strokes, breast cancer,  or blood clots

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·          <!--[endif]-->Using estrogens with progestins  may increase your chance of getting dementia, based on a study of women 65  years of age or older

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·          <!--[endif]-->You and your healthcare provider should talk  regularly about whether you still need treatment with Divigel®

Divigel® should not be used if  you have unusual vaginal bleeding, currently have or have had certain  cancers, including cancer of the breast or uterus, had a stroke or heart  attack; currently have or have had blood clots, currently have or have had  liver problems, have been diagnosed with a bleeding disorder, are allergic to   Divigel® or any of its  ingredients, or think you may be pregnant.

Tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical problems and the  medicines you take, if you are going to have surgery or will be on bed rest,  and if you are breastfeeding.

Call your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following  symptoms: new breast lumps, unusual vaginal bleeding, changes in vision or  speech, sudden new severe headaches, or severe pains in your chest or legs  with or without shortness of breath, weakness and fatigue.

Common side effects that may occur with Divigel®   include headache; breast pain; irregular vaginal bleeding or spotting;  stomach or abdominal cramps, bloating; nausea and vomiting; hair loss; fluid  retention and vaginal yeast infection.

Serious but less common side effects include heart attack, stroke, blood  clots, dementia, breast cancer, cancer of the  uterus, ovarian cancer, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, gallbladder  disease, liver problems, and enlargement of benign uterus tumors  (“fibroids”).

Alcohol-based gels are flammable. Avoid fire, flame or smoking until the  gel has dried.

Please see Patient Information for Divigel®   and talk to your healthcare provider. For more information, call  1-888-650-3789 or visit www.divigel.com.

You are encouraged to report  negative side effects to Upsher-Smith Laboratories,  Inc. at 1-855-899-9180, or to the FDA by visiting www.fda.gov/medwatch or calling  1-800-FDA-1088.

For more information about hot flashes, talk to your doctor, and visit www.divigel.com to learn more about this  treatment.