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Estradiol (By mouth)

Treats symptoms caused by menopause or removal of the ovaries, and treats prostate or breast cancer. Also prevents osteoporosis.

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Differences in effectiveness and adverse effects between different types of progestogens combined with ethinyl oestradiol (combined contraceptive pill)

Combined oral contraceptives (COC) have an oestrogen and a progestogen component. The type of progestogen and/or amount of oestrogen or progestogen can vary per pack of oral contraceptive pills. The objective of this review was to compare currently available low‐dose COCs containing different progestogens in terms of pregnancy prevention, bleeding pattern, side effects and discontinuation rates.

Contraceptive effect and safety of ethinyl estradiol versus desogestrel: a systematic review

Bibliographic details: Peng L H, Wang L, Cai L R, Meng Y, Li Y P.  Contraceptive effect and safety of ethinyl estradiol versus desogestrel: a systematic review . Chinese Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine 2008; 8(4): 252-260

Endogenous oestradiol and cardiovascular disease in healthy men: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies

CONTEXT: The literature provides no clear answer as to whether total oestradiol (E2) concentrations increase the risk of incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) in healthy men.

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Summaries for consumers

Differences in effectiveness and adverse effects between different types of progestogens combined with ethinyl oestradiol (combined contraceptive pill)

Combined oral contraceptives (COC) have an oestrogen and a progestogen component. The type of progestogen and/or amount of oestrogen or progestogen can vary per pack of oral contraceptive pills. The objective of this review was to compare currently available low‐dose COCs containing different progestogens in terms of pregnancy prevention, bleeding pattern, side effects and discontinuation rates.

Cyproterone acetate appears to be as effective as other medications for hirsutism in women caused by excessive androgen production by the ovaries

One of the causes of hirsutism (excessive hair growth) in women is excessive production of the hormone androgens by the ovaries. A variety of medications can be used to counter the effects of the androgen. Cyproterone acetate is an anti‐androgen drug. Adverse effects that have been reported with its use include weight gain, depression, fatigue, breast symptoms and sexual dysfunction. The review of trials found that cyproterone acetate appears to have a similar impact on hirsutism as other drugs used for hirsutism caused by excessive androgen. There was not enough evidence to compare adverse effects of the treatment options.

Birth control pills with 20 µg estrogen versus more than 20 µg estrogen

Concerns about safety have led to making birth control pills with less of the hormone estrogen. Pills with less estrogen might not work as well to prevent pregnancy and could cause bleeding problems. This review looked at studies that compared pills with 20 µg ethinyl estradiol versus pills that have more estrogen.

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