POM: Prescription only medicine
This information is intended for use by health professionals
Ovestin 1 mg cream
1mg estriol in 1g cream
For a full list of excipients, see section 6.1.
Homogeneous, smooth, white to nearly white mass of creamy consistency.
• Treatment of vaginal oestrogen deficiency symptoms:
• Treatment of symptoms of vaginal atrophy due to oestrogen deficiency in postmenopausal women.
• As pre-surgery therapy for vaginal operations and during subsequent convalescence.
Ovestin cream is an estrogen-only product for intravaginal use.
Adults and Elderly
• Treatment of atrophic vaginitis
1 application per day for the first weeks (maximally 4 weeks), followed by a gradual reduction, based on relief of symptoms, until a maintenance dosage (e.g. 1 application twice a week) is reached.
• Pre-surgery therapy
One applicator-dose per day should begin 2 weeks before the operation.
• Post-surgery therapy
Following surgery a period of at least 2 weeks should be allowed before resuming therapy using one applicator-dose twice a week.
A missed dose should be administered as soon as remembered, unless it is more than 12 hours overdue. In the latter case the missed dose should be skipped and the next dose should be administered at the normal time. Two doses should never be administered on the same day.
Route of Administration
Ovestin cream is administered intravaginally by means of a calibrated applicator.
One applicator-dose (applicator filled to the red mark) is 0.5g Ovestin cream containing 0.5 mg estriol.
The following 'Instructions for Use' should be given to the patient and are included in the Patient Information Leaflet:
How to Apply the Cream
Use the applicator to apply the cream in the vagina. A good time to do this is before going to bed.
The applicator has a ring marked on the body. Fill the applicator up to the ring mark with Ovestin cream to get the correct dose.
1. Remove the cap from the tube and turn it upside down. Then use the sharp point to open the tube.
2. Screw the end of the applicator onto the tube.
3. Squeeze the tube to fill the applicator with the cream up to the red ring mark (the plunger will stop at the ring mark).
4. Unscrew applicator from the tube and put the cap back on the tube.
5. To apply the cream, lie down, put the end of the applicator deep into the vagina and slowly push plunger all the way in.
Cleaning the applicator
After use, pull the plunger out of the barrel. Wash the plunger and barrel in hand hot, soapy water. Do not use detergents. Rinse well with clean water afterwards.
DO NOT PUT THE APPLICATOR IN BOILING WATER.
For initiation and continuation of treatment of postmenopausal symptoms, the lowest effective dose for the shortest duration (see also section 4.4) should be used.
For Ovestin vaginal cream and pessaries, the systemic exposure of estriol remains closely to the normal postmenopausal range when used in a twice weekly administration, it is not recommended to add a progestagen (but see section 4.4).
In women not taking HRT or women who switch from another continuous combined HRT product, treatment with Ovestin cream may be started on any day. Women who switch from cyclic HRT regimen should start Ovestin cream treatment one week after completion of the cycle.
There are no clinical trials to support the use in children.
- Known, past or suspected breast cancer;
- Known or suspected estrogen-dependent malignant tumours (e.g endometrial cancer);
- Undiagnosed genital bleeding;
- Untreated endometrial hyperplasia;
- Previous or current venous thromboembolism (deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism);
- Known thrombophilic disorders (e.g. protein C, protein S, or antithrombin deficiency, see section 4.4);
- Active or recent arterial thromboembolic disease (e.g. angina, myocardial infarction);
- Acute liver disease, or a history of liver disease as long as liver function tests have failed to return to normal;
- Known hypersensitivity to the active substances or to any of the excipients;
• For the treatment of postmenopausal symptoms, HRT should only be initiated for symptoms that adversely affect quality of life. In all cases, a careful appraisal of the risks and benefits should be undertaken at least annually and HRT should only be continued as long as the benefit outweighs the risk.
• Evidence regarding the risks associated with HRT in the treatment of premature menopause is limited. Due to the low level of absolute risk in younger women, however, the balance of benefits and risks for these women may be more favorable than in older women.
Before initiating or reinstituting HRT, a complete personal and family medical history should be taken. Physical (including pelvic and breast) examination should be guided by this and by the contraindications and warnings for use. During treatment, periodic check-ups are recommended of a frequency and nature adapted to the individual woman. Women should be advised what changes in their breasts should be reported to their doctor or nurse (see “Breast cancer” below). Investigations, including mammography, should be carried out in accordance with currently accepted screening practices, modified to the clinical needs of the individual.
In case of vaginal infections, these should be treated before therapy with Ovestin Cream is started.
Conditions which need supervision
• If any of the following conditions are present, have occurred previously, and/or have been aggravated during pregnancy or previous hormone treatment, the patient should be closely supervised. It should be taken into account that these conditions may recur or be aggravated during treatment with Ovestin Cream, in particular:
- Leiomyoma (uterine fibroids) or endometriosis
- A history of, or risk factors for, thromboembolic disorders (see below)
- Risk factors for estrogen dependent tumours, e.g. 1st degree heredity for breast cancer
- Liver disorders (e.g. liver adenoma)
- Diabetes mellitus with or without vascular involvement
- Migraine or (severe) headache
- Systemic lupus erythematosus.
- A history of endometrial hyperplasia (see below)
Reasons for immediate withdrawal of therapy:
Therapy should be discontinued in case a contra-indication is discovered and in the following situations:
- Jaundice or deterioration in liver function
- Significant increase in blood pressure
- New onset of migraine-type headache
• In women with an intact uterus the risk of endometrial hyperplasia and carcinoma is increased when systemic oestrogens are administered alone for prolonged periods.
• For Ovestin vaginal cream and pessaries, the systemic exposure of estriol remains closely to the normal postmenopausal range when used in a twice weekly administration, it is not recommended to add a progestagen.
• Endometrial safety of long-term (more than one year) or repeated use of local vaginally administered estrogens is uncertain. Therefore, if repeated, treatment should be reviewed at least annually.
• Unopposed estrogen stimulation may lead to premalignant transformation in the residual foci of endometriosis. Therefore, caution is advised when using this product in women who have undergone hysterectomy because of endometriosis, especially if they are known to have residual endometriosis.
• If bleeding or spotting appears at any time on therapy, the reason should be investigated, which may include endometrial biopsy to exclude endometrial malignancy.
• In order to prevent endometrial stimulation, the daily dose should not exceed 1 application (0.5 mg estriol) nor should this maximum dose be used for longer than several weeks (maximum 4 weeks). One epidemiological study has shown that long-term treatment with low doses of oral estriol, but not vaginal estriol, may increase the risk for endometrial cancer. This risk increased with the duration of treatment and disappeared within one year after the treatment was terminated. The increased risk mainly concerned less invasive and highly differentiated tumors.
The following risks have been associated with systemic HRT and apply to a lesser extent for Ovestin vaginal cream and pessaries of which the systemic exposure to estriol remains closely to the normal postmenopausal range when used in a twice weekly administration. However, they should be considered in case of long term or repeated use of this product.
The overall evidence suggests an increased risk of breast cancer in women taking combined estrogen-progestagen and possibly also estrogen-only systemic HRT, that is dependent on the duration of taking HRT. The excess risk becomes apparent within a few years of use but returns to baseline within a few (at most five) years after stopping treatment.
HRT, especially estrogen-progestagen combined treatment, increases the density of mammographic images which may adversely affect the radiological detection of breast cancer. Clinical studies reported that the likelihood of developing increased mammographic density was lower in subjects treated with estriol than in subjects treated with other estrogens.
It is unknown whether Ovestin carries the same risk. In a several population-based case-control studies, estriol was found not to be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, in contrast to other estrogens. However, the clinical implications of these findings are as yet unknown. Therefore, it is important that the risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer is discussed with the patient and weighed against the known benefits of HRT.
Ovarian cancer is much rarer than breast cancer.
Epidemiological evidence from a large meta-analysis suggests a slightly increased risk in women taking oestrogen-only systemic HRT, which becomes apparent within 5 years of use and diminishes over time after stopping.
• Systemic HRT is associated with a higher relative risk of developing venous thromboembolism (VTE), i.e. deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. The occurrence of such an event is more likely in the first year of HRT than later.
• Patients with known thrombophilic states have an increased risk of VTE and HRT may add to this risk. HRT is therefore contraindicated in these patients (see section 4.3).
• Generally recognised risk factors for VTE include a personal history or family history, severe obesity (BMI > 30 kg/m2) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). There is no consensus about the possible role of varicose veins in VTE.
• As in all postoperative patients, prophylactic measures need to be considered to prevent VTE following surgery. If prolonged immobilisation is to follow elective surgery temporarily stopping HRT 4 to 6 weeks earlier is recommended. Treatment should not be restarted until the woman is completely mobilised.
• In women with no personal history of VTE but with a first degree relative with a history of thrombosis at young age, screening may be offered after careful counseling regarding its limitations (only a proportion of thrombophilic defects are identified by screening). If a thrombophilic defect is identified which segregates with thrombosis in family members or if the defect is 'severe' (e.g., antithrombin, protein S, or protein C deficiencies or a combination of defects) HRT is contraindicated.
• Women already on chronic anticoagulant treatment require careful consideration of the benefit-risk of use of HRT.
• If VTE develops after initiating therapy, the drug should be discontinued. Patients should be told to contact their doctors immediately when they are aware of a potential thromboembolic symptom (eg, painful swelling of a leg, sudden pain in the chest, dyspnea).
Coronary artery disease (CAD)
Randomized controlled data found no increased risk of CAD in hysterectomized women using systemic oestrogen-only therapy.
Systemic oestrogen-only therapy are associated with an up to 1.5-fold increase in risk of ischemic stroke. The relative risk does not change with age or time since menopause. However, as the baseline risk of stroke is strongly age-dependent, the overall risk of stroke in women who use HRT will increase with age (see section 4.8).
• Estrogens may cause fluid retention, and therefore patients with cardiac or renal dysfunction should be carefully observed. Patients with terminal renal insufficiency should be closely observed, since it is expected that the level of circulating active ingredients in Ovestin Cream is increased.
• Women with pre-existing hypertriglyceridemia should be followed closely during estrogen replacement or hormone replacement therapy, since rare cases of large increases of plasma triglycerides leading to pancreatitis have been reported with estrogen therapy in this condition.
• Oestrogens increase thyroid binding globulin (TBG), leading to increased circulating total thyroid hormone, as measured by protein-bound iodine (PBI), T4 levels (by column or by radio-immunoassay) or T3 levels (by radio-immunoassay). T3 resin uptake is decreased, reflecting the elevated TBG. Free T4 and free T3 concentrations are unaltered. Other binding proteins may be elevated in serum, i.e. corticoid binding globulin (CBG), sex-hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) leading to increased circulating corticosteroids and sex steroids, respectively. Free or biological active hormone concentrations are unchanged. Other plasma proteins may be increased (angiotensinogen/renin substrate, alpha-I-antitrypsin, ceruloplasmin).
• HRT use does not improve cognitive function. There is some evidence of increased risk of probable dementia in women who start using continuous combined or estrogen-only HRT after the age of 65.
• Ovestin cream contains cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol. This may cause local skin reactions (e.g. contact dermatitis).
Concomitant use of Hepatitis C medications
• During clinical trials with the combination drug regimen ombitasvir hydrate/paritaprevir hydrate/ritonavir with or without dasabuvir, ALT elevations to greater than 5 times the upper limit of normal (ULN) were significantly more frequent in female subjects using ethinyl estradiol-containing medications. Women using estrogens other than ethinyl estradiol, such as estradiol, estriol and conjugated estrogens had a rate of ALT elevation similar to those not receiving any estrogens; however, due to the limited number of subjects taking these other estrogens, caution is warranted for co-administration with the combination drug regimen ombitasvir hydrate/paritaprevir hydrate/ritonavir with or without dasabuvir. (See section 4.5.)
Due to the vaginal administration and minimal systemic absorption, it is unlikely that any clinically relevant drug interactions will occur with Ovestin. However interactions with other locally applied vaginal treatments should be considered.
The following interactions have been described with use of combined oral contraceptives which may also be relevant for Ovestin. The metabolism of estrogens may be increased by concomitant use of substances known to induce drug-metabolising enzymes, specifically cytochrome P450 enzymes, such as anticonvulsants (e.g. hydantoins, barbituates, carbamezapin), anti-infectives (e.g. griseofulvin, rifamycins, the antiretroviral agents nevirapine and efavirenz) and herbal preparations containing St John's wort (Hypericum Perforatum). Ritonavir and nelfinavir, although known as strong inhibitors, by contrast exhibit inducing properties when used concomitantly with steroid hormones.
Clinically, an increased metabolism of estrogens may lead to decreased effectiveness of Ovestin and changes in uterine bleeding profile.
Estriol may possibly increase the pharmacological effects of corticosteroids, succinylcholine, theophyllines and troleandomycin.
During clinical trials with the combination drug regimen ombitasvir hydrate/paritaprevir hydrate/ritonavir with or without dasabuvir, ALT elevations to greater than 5 times the upper limit of normal (ULN) were significantly more frequent in female subjects using ethinyl estradiol-containing medications. Women using estrogens other than ethinyl estradiol, such as estradiol, estriol and conjugated estrogens had a rate of ALT elevation similar to those not receiving any estrogens; however, due to the limited number of subjects taking these other estrogens, caution is warranted for co-administration with the combination drug regimen ombitasvir hydrate/paritaprevir hydrate/ritonavir with or without dasabuvir. (See section 4.4.)
Ovestin is not indicated during pregnancy. If pregnancy occurs during medication with Ovestin treatment should be withdrawn immediately.
The results of most epidemiological studies to date relevant to inadvertent foetal exposure to estrogens indicate no teratogenic or foetotoxic effects.
Ovestin is not indicated during lactation.
Estriol is excreted in breast milk and may decrease milk production.
As far as is known Ovestin has no effect on alertness and concentration.
The following adverse reactions, associated with estrogen treatment may occur during estriol therapy or overdose: Nausea and vomiting, breast tenderness or pain in the breasts, vaginal bleeding or spotting during or on withdrawal of therapy, excessive production of cervical mucus, headache.
From Literature and safety surveillance monitoring, the following adverse reactions have been reported:
System organ class
General disorders and administration site conditions
Application site irritation and pruritus
Reproductive system and breast disorders
Breast discomfort and pain
*MedDRA version 9.1
These adverse reactions are usually transient, but may also be indicative of too high a dosage.
Class effects associated with systemic HRT
The following risks have been associated with systemic HRT and apply to a lesser extent for Ovestin vaginal cream and pessaries of which the systemic exposure to estriol remains closely to the normal postmenopausal range when used in a twice weekly administration.
Breast cancer risk
• An up to 2-fold increased risk of having breast cancer diagnosed is reported in women taking combined estrogen-progestagen therapy for more than 5 years.
• Any increased risk in users of estrogen-only therapy is substantially lower than that seen in users of estrogen-progestagen combinations.
• The level of risk is dependent on the duration of use (see section 4.4).
• Results of the largest randomised placebo-controlled trial (WHI-study) and largest epidemiological study (MWS) are presented.
Million Women study– Estimated additional risk of breast cancer after 5 years' use
Age range (yrs)
Additional cases per 1000 never-users of HRT over a 5 year period*
Additional cases per 1000 HRT users over 5 years (95%CI)
Estrogen only HRT
#Overall risk ratio. The risk ratio is not constant but will increase with increasing duration on use
* Taken from baseline incidence rates in developed countries.
Note: Since the background incidence of breast cancer differs by EU country, the number of additional cases of breast cancer will also change proportionately.
US WHI studies - additional risk of breast cancer after 5 years' use
Age range (yrs)
Incidence per 1000 women in placebo arm over 5 years
Risk ratio & 95%CI
Additional cases per 1000 HRT users over 5 years (95%CI)
0.8 (0.7 – 1.0)
-4 (-6 – 0)*
* WHI study in women with no uterus, which did not show an increase in risk of breast cancer
Use of systemic HRT has been associated with a slightly increased risk of having ovarian cancer diagnosed (see Section 4.4).
A meta-analysis from 52 epidemiological studies reported an increased risk of ovarian cancer in women currently using systemic HRT compared to women who have never used HRT (RR 1.43, 95% CI 1.31-1.56). For women aged 50 to 54 years taking 5 years of HRT, this results in about 1 extra case per 2000 users. In women aged 50 to 54 who are not taking HRT, about 2 women in 2000 will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer over a 5-year period.
Risk of venous thromboembolism
Systemic HRT is associated with a 1.3-3-fold increased relative risk of developing venous thromboembolism (VTE), i.e. deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. The occurrence of such an event is more likely in the first year of using HT (see section 4.4). Results of the WHI studies are presented:
WHI Studies - Additional risk of VTE over 5 years' use
Age range (yrs)
Incidence per 1000 women in placebo arm over 5 years
Risk ratio & 95%CI
Additional cases per 1000 HRT users
1.2 (0.6 – 2.4)
1 (-3 – 10)
* Study in women with no uterus
Risk of ischaemic stroke
• The use of systemic HRT is associated with an up to 1.5 fold increased relative risk of ischaemic stroke. The risk of haemorrhagic stroke is not increased during use of HRT.
• This relative risk is not dependent on age or on duration of use, but as the baseline risk is strongly age-dependent, the overall risk of stroke in women who use HRT will increase with age, see section 4.4.
WHI studies combined - Additional risk of ischaemic stroke* over 5 years' use
Incidence per 1000 women in placebo arm over 5 years
Risk ratio and 95%CI
Additional cases per 1000 HRT users over 5 years
1.3 (1.1– 1.6)
*no differentiation was made between ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke.
Other adverse reactions have been reported in association with estrogen-only and estrogen/progestagen combined treatment:
• Estrogen-dependent neoplasms benign and malignant, e.g. endometrial cancer. For further information see sections 4.3 and 4.4
• Gall bladder disease.
• Skin and subcutaneous disorders: chloasma, erythema multiforme, erythema nodosum, vascular purpura.
• Probable dementia over the age of 65 (see section 4.4).
Reporting of suspected adverse reactions
Reporting suspected adverse reactions after authorisation of the medicinal product is important. It allows continued monitoring of the benefit/risk balance of the medicinal product. Healthcare professionals are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions via Yellow Card Scheme
Website: www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard or search for MHRA Yellow Card in the Google Play or Apple App Store
The acute toxicity of estriol in animals is very low. Symptoms that may occur in the case of an acute oral overdosage are nausea, vomiting and possibly withdrawal bleeding in females. No specific antidote is known. If necessary a symptomatic treatment should be instituted.
Pharmacotherapeutic group: natural and semisynthetic estrogens
ATC code: G03CA04
Mechanism of action
Ovestin contains the natural female hormone estriol. Unlike other estrogens, estriol is short acting. It substitutes for the loss of estrogen production.
In cases of vaginal atrophy, vaginally administered estriol induces normalisation of the vaginal epithelium and thus helps to restore the normal microflora and a physiological pH in the vagina.
Treatment of vaginal estrogen deficiency symptoms: Vaginally applied estrogen alleviates the symptoms of vaginal atrophy due to estrogen deficiency in postmenopausal women.
Clinical trial information
• Relief of vaginal symptoms was achieved during the first weeks of treatment.
• Vaginal bleeding after treatment with Ovestin has only rarely been reported
After administration of Ovestin Cream, estriol is also absorbed from the vagina into the general circulation, shown by a sharp rise in plasma estriol, followed by a gradual decline.
Peak plasma levels are reached 1-2 hours after application. After vaginal application of 0.5 mg estriol, Cmax is approximately 100 pg/ml, Cmin is approximately 25 pg/ml and Caverage is approximately 70 pg/ml. After 3 weeks of daily administration of 0.5 mg vaginal estriol, Caverage has decreased to 40 pg/ml.
In a clinical trial, median plasma levels measured 12 hours after administration following 12 weeks of estriol cream administration were 8.5 pg/ml (interquartile range [IQR], 3.3-24.3). Following a median of 21 months (IQR, 9.2-38.4) of trice weekly administration, median serum oestriol levels in chronic group was 5.5 pg/ml (IQR, 1.9-10.2).
Nearly all (90%) estriol is bound to albumin in the plasma and, in contrast with other estrogens, hardly any estriol is bound to sex hormone-binding globulin. The metabolism of estriol consists principally of conjugation and deconjugation during the enterohepatic circulation.
Estriol, being a metabolic end product, is mainly excreted via the urine in the conjugated form. Only a small part (± 2%) is excreted via the feces, mainly as unconjugated estriol.
sodium hydroxide to pH 4,
Do not store above 25°C. Do not freeze.
15g Collapsible aluminium tube with styrene acrylonitrile (copolymer) applicator.
Please see Section 4.2
Aspen Pharma Trading Limited,
3016 Lake Drive,
Citywest Business Campus,
20 August 1982/ 16 December 1999.
Prescription Only Medicine
3016 Lake Drive, Citywest Business Campus, Dublin 24, Ireland
0800 0087 392
+ 44 1748 828 391