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EstroGel

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EstroGel

EstroGel

CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY

EstroGel provides systemic estrogen therapy by releasing estradiol, the major estrogenic hormone secreted by the human ovary.

Mechanism Of Action

Endogenous estrogens are largely responsible for the development and maintenance of the female reproductive system and secondary sexual characteristics. Although circulating estrogens exist in a dynamic equilibrium of metabolic interconversions, estradiol is the principal intracellular human estrogen and is substantially more potent than its metabolites, estrone and estriol, at the receptor level.

The primary source of estrogen in normally cycling adult women is the ovarian follicle, which secretes 70 to 500 mcg of estradiol daily, depending on the phase of the menstrual cycle. After menopause, most endogenous estrogen is produced by conversion of androstenedione, secreted by the adrenal cortex, to estrone in the peripheral tissues. Thus, estrone and the sulfate-conjugated form, estrone sulfate, are the most abundant circulating estrogens in postmenopausal women.

Estrogens act through binding to nuclear receptors in estrogen-responsive tissues. To date, two estrogen receptors have been identified. These vary in proportion from tissue to tissue.

Circulating estrogens modulate the pituitary secretion of the gonadotropins, luteinizing hormone (LH) and FSH through a negative feedback mechanism. Estrogens act to reduce the elevated levels of these hormones seen in postmenopausal women.

Pharmacodynamics

There are no pharmacodynamic data for EstroGel.

Pharmacokinetics

Absorption

Estradiol is transported across intact skin and into the systemic circulation by a passive diffusion process. The rate of diffusion across the stratum corneum is the rate-limiting factor. When EstroGel is applied to the skin, it dries in 2 to 5 minutes.

EstroGel 1.25 g (containing 0.75 mg of estradiol) was administered to 24 postmenopausal women once daily on the posterior surface of 1 arm from wrist to shoulder for 14 consecutive days. Mean maximal serum concentrations of estradiol and estrone on Day 14 were 46.4 pg/mL and 64.2 pg/mL, respectively. The time-averaged serum estradiol and estrone concentrations over the 24-hour dose interval after administration of 1.25 g EstroGel on Day 14 are 28.3 pg/mL and 48.6 pg/mL, respectively. Mean concentration-time profiles for unadjusted estradiol and estrone on Day 14 are shown in Figure 1.

FIGURE 1: Mean Serum Concentration - time Profiles for Unadjusted Estradiol and Estrone After Multiple- dose Application of 1.25g ExtroGel 0.06% for 14 Days

Mean Serum Concentration - time Profiles for Unadjusted Estradiol and Estrone After Multiple- dose Application of 1.25g ExtroGel 0.06% for 14 Days - Illustration

The serum concentrations of estradiol following 2.5 g EstroGel applications (1.25 g on each arm from wrist to shoulder) appeared to reach steady state after the third daily application.

Distribution

The distribution of exogenous estrogens is similar to that of endogenous estrogens. Estrogens are widely distributed in the body and are generally found in higher concentrations in the sex hormone target organs. Estrogens circulate in blood largely bound to SHBG and albumin.

Metabolism

Exogenous estrogens are metabolized in the same manner as endogenous estrogens. Circulating estrogens exist in a dynamic equilibrium of metabolic interconversions. These transformations take place mainly in the liver. Estradiol is converted reversibly to estrone, and both can be converted to estriol, which is a major urinary metabolite. Estrogens also undergo enterohepatic recirculation via sulfate and glucuronide conjugation in the liver, biliary secretion of conjugates into the intestine, and hydrolysis in the intestine followed by reabsorption. In postmenopausal women, a significant proportion of the circulating estrogens exist as sulfate conjugates, especially estrone sulfate, which serves as a circulating reservoir for the formation of more active estrogens. Although the clinical significance has not been determined, Estradiol from EstroGel does not go through first-pass liver metabolism.

Excretion

Estradiol, estrone, and estriol are excreted in the urine along with glucuronide and sulfate conjugates.

The apparent terminal exponential half-life for estradiol was about 36 hours following administration of 1.25 g EstroGel.

Use in Specific Populations

No pharmacokinetic studies were conducted in special populations, including patients with renal or hepatic impairment.

Effect of Application Site Washing

The effect of application site washing on the serum concentrations of estradiol was determined in 24 healthy postmenopausal women who applied 1.25 g of EstroGel once daily for 14 consecutive days. Site washing 1 hour after the application resulted in a 22 percent mean decrease in average 24-hour serum concentrations of estradiol.

Potential for Estradiol Transfer

The effect of estradiol transfer was evaluated in 24 healthy postmenopausal women who topically applied 1.25 g of EstroGel once daily on the posterior surface of 1 arm from wrist to shoulder for a period of 14 consecutive days. On each day, 1 hour after gel application, a cohort of 24 non-dosed healthy postmenopausal females directly contacted the dosed cohort at the site of gel application for 15 minutes. No change in endogenous mean serum concentrations of estradiol was observed in the non-dosed cohort after direct skin-to-skin contact with subjects administered EstroGel.

Effect of Moisturizer Lotion/Sunscreen on Estradiol Absorption

The effect of sunscreen and moisturizer lotion on estradiol absorption from 0.06% estradiol topical gel was evaluated in a randomized, open-label, three-period crossover study in 42 healthy postmenopausal women. The study results showed that repeated daily application of sunscreen for 7 days at 1 hour after the administration of 0.06% estradiol topical gel decreased the mean AUC0-24h and Cmax of estradiol by 16%. Repeated daily application of moisturizer lotion for 7 days at 1 hour after the administration of 0.06% estradiol topical gel increased the mean AUC0-24h and Cmax of estradiol by 38% and 73%, respectively.

The effect of daily application of sunscreen/moisturizer lotion on estradiol absorption, when sunscreen/moisturizer lotion is applied before administration of 0.06% estradiol topical gel, was not studied.

Clinical Studies

Effects On Vasomotor Symptoms

In a placebo-controlled study, 145 postmenopausal women between 29 and 67 years of age (81.4 percent were White) were randomly assigned to receive 1.25 g of EstroGel (containing 0.75 mg of estradiol) or placebo gel for 12 weeks. Efficacy was assessed at 4 and 12 weeks of treatment. A statistically significant reduction in the frequency and severity of moderate to severe hot flushes was shown at Weeks 4 and 12. (See Table 2)

TABLE 2 : Mean Change from Baseline in the Number and Severity of Hot Flushes per Day, ITT Population, LOCF

  Number of Hot Flushes/Day (Moderate to Severe) Severity Score/Day (Mild, Moderate, Severe)
Placebo
n=73
EstroGel 0.06% 1.25 g
n=72
Placebo
n=73
EstroGel 0.06% 1.25 g
n=72
Baseline
Mean (SD) 11.01 (5.66) 10.33 (3.07) 2.30 (0.24) 2.36 (0.29)
Week 4*
Mean (SD) 5.95 (5.17) 4.43 (4.13) 2.00 (0.63) 1.73 (0.73)
Mean change from baseline (SD) -5.06 (4.91) -5.91 (3.68) -0.31 (0.62) -0.63 (0.71)
Diff. vs placebo   0.85   0.32
P value†   0.019‡   0.005‡
Week 12*
Mean (SD) 5.17 (6.52) 2.79 (3.70) 1.76 (0.84) 1.33 (0.97)
Mean change from baseline (SD) -5.84 (4.52) -7.55 (3.52) -0.54 (0.84) -1.03 (0.94)
Diff. vs placebo   1.71   0.49
P value†   0.043‡   < 0.001‡
* Primary timepoint.
† P values from Elteren's nonparametric test.
‡ Statistically significantly different from placebo.

Effects On Vulvar And Vaginal Atrophy

Results of the vaginal wall cytology showed a significant (P ≤ 0.001) increase from baseline in the percent of superficial epithelial cells at Week 12 for 1.25 g EstroGel. In contrast, no significant change from baseline was observed in the placebo group.

Women's Health Initiative Studies

The WHI enrolled approximately 27,000 predominantly healthy postmenopausal women in two substudies to assess the risks and benefits of daily oral CE (0.625 mg)-alone or in combination with MPA (2.5 mg) compared to placebo in the prevention of certain chronic diseases. The primary endpoint was the incidence of CHD (defined as nonfatal MI, silent MI, and CHD death), with invasive breast cancer as the primary adverse outcome. A “global index” included the earliest occurrence of CHD, invasive breast cancer, stroke, PE, endometrial cancer (only in the CE plus MPA substudy), colorectal cancer, hip fracture, or death due to other causes. These substudies did not evaluate the effects of CE-alone or CE plus MPA on menopausal symptoms.

WHI Estrogen-Alone Substudy

The WHI estrogen-alone substudy was stopped early because an increased risk of stroke was observed, and it was deemed that no further information would be obtained regarding the risks and benefits of estrogen-alone in predetermined primary endpoints. Results of the estrogen-alone substudy, which included 10,739 women (average 63 years of age, range 50-79; 75.3 percent White, 15.1 percent Black, 6.1 percent Hispanic, 3.6 percent Other), after an average follow-up of 7.1 years are presented in Table 3.

TABLE 3 : Relative and Absolute Risk Seen in the Estrogen-Alone Substudy of WHIa

Event Relative Risk CE vs. Placebo (95% nCIb) CE
n = 5,310
Placebo
n = 5,429
Absolute Risk per 10,000 Women-Years
CHD eventsc 0.95 (0.78-1.16) 54 57
  Non-fatal MIc 0.91 (0.73-1.14) 40 43
  CHD deathc 1.01 (0.71-1.43) 16 16
All strokesc 1.33 (1.05-1.68) 45 33
  Ischemic strokec 1.55 (1.19-2.01) 38 25
Deep vein thrombosisc,d 1.47 (1.06-2.06) 23 15
Pulmonary embolismc 1.37 (0.90-2.07) 14 10
Invasive breast cancerc 0.80 (0.62-1.04) 28 34
Colorectal cancerc 1.08 (0.75-1.55) 17 16
Hip fracturec 0.65 (0.45-0.94) 12 19
Vertebral fracturesc,d 0.64 (0.44-0.93) 11 18
Lower arm/wrist fracturesc,d 0.58 (0.47-0.72) 35 59
Total fracturesc,d 0.71 (0.64-0.80) 144 197
Death due to other causese,f 1.08 (0.88-1.32) 53 50
Overall mortalityc,d 1.04 (0.88-1.22) 79 75
Global indexg 1.02 (0.92-1.13) 206 201
aAdapted from numerous WHI publications. WHI publications can be viewed at www.nhlbi.nih.gov/whi.
bNominal confidence intervals unadjusted for multiple looks and multiple comparisons.
cResults are based on centrally adjudicated data for an average follow-up of 7.1 years.
dNot included in “global index”.
eResults are based on an average follow-up of 6.8 years.
fAll deaths, except from breast or colorectal cancer, definite or probable CHD, PE or cerebrovascular disease.
gA subset of the events was combined in a “global index,” defined as the earliest occurrence of CHD events, invasive breast cancer, stroke, pulmonary embolism, endometrial cancer, colorectal cancer, hip fracture, or death due to other causes.

For those outcomes included in the WHI “global index” that reached statistical significance, the absolute excess risk per 10,000 women-years in the group treated with CE-alone was 12 more strokes, while the absolute risk reduction per 10,000 women-years was 7 fewer hip fractures.9 The absolute excess risk of events included in the “global index“ was a non-significant 5 events per 10,000 women-years. There was no difference between the groups in terms of all-cause mortality.

No overall difference for primary CHD events (nonfatal MI, silent MI and CHD death) and invasive breast cancer in women receiving CE-alone compared with placebo was reported in final centrally adjudicated results from the estrogen-alone substudy, after an average follow-up of 7.1 years. See Table 3.

Centrally adjudicated results for stroke events from the estrogen-alone substudy, after an average follow-up of 7.1 years, reported no significant difference in the distribution of stroke subtype or severity, including fatal strokes, in women receiving estrogen-alone compared to placebo. Estrogen-alone therapy increased the risk of ischemic stroke, and this excess risk was present in all subgroups of women examined.10 See Table 3.

Timing of initiation of estrogen-alone therapy relative to the start of menopause may affect the overall risk benefit profile. The WHI estrogen-alone substudy stratified by age showed in women 50 to 59 years of age a non-significant trend toward reduced risk for CHD [hazard ratio (HR) 0.63 (95 percent CI, 0.36-1.09)] and overall mortality [HR 0.71 (95 percent CI, 0.46-1.11)].

WHI Estrogen Plus Progestin Substudy

The WHI estrogen plus progestin substudy was stopped early. According to the predefined stopping rule, after an average follow-up of 5.6 years of treatment, the increased risk of invasive breast cancer and cardiovascular events exceeded the specified benefits included in the “global index.” The absolute excess risk of events included in the “global index” was 19 per 10,000 women-years.

For those outcomes included in the WHI “global index” that reached statistical significance after 5.6 years of follow-up, the absolute excess risks per 10,000 women-years in the group treated with CE plus MPA were 7 more CHD events, 8 more strokes, 10 more PEs, and 8 more invasive breast cancers, while the absolute risk reduction per 10,000 women-years were 6 fewer colorectal cancers and 5 fewer hip fractures.

Results of the CE plus MPA substudy, which included 16,608 women (average 63 years of age, range 50-79; 83.9 percent White, 6.8 percent Black, 5.4 percent Hispanic, 3.9 percent Other), are presented in Table 4. These results reflect centrally adjudicated data after an average follow-up of 5.6 years.

TABLE 4 : Relative and Absolute Risk Seen in the Estrogen Plus Progestin Substudy of WHI at an Average of 5.6 Yearsa,b

Event Relative Risk CE/MPA vs. Placebo (95% nCIc) CE/MPA
n = 8,506
Placebo
n = 8,102
Absolute Risk per 10,000 Women-Years
CHD events 1.23 (0.99-1.53) 41 34
  Non-fatal MI 1.28 (1.00-1.63) 31 25
  CHD death 1.10 (0.70-1.75) 8 8
All strokes 1.31 (1.03-1.68) 33 25
  Ischemic stroke 1.44 (1.09-1.90) 26 18
Deep vein thrombosisd 1.95 (1.43-2.67) 26 13
Pulmonary embolism 2.13 (1.45-3.11) 18 8
Invasive breast cancere 1.24 (1.01-1.54) 41 33
Colorectal cancer 0.61 (0.42-0.87) 10 16
Endometrial cancerd 0.81 (0.48-1.36) 6 7
Cervical cancerd 1.44 (0.47-4.42) 2 1
Hip fracture 0.67 (0.47-0.96) 11 16
Vertebral fracturesd 0.65 (0.46-0.92) 11 17
Lower arm/wrist fracturesd 0.71 (0.59-0.85) 44 62
Total fractures 0.76 (0.69-0.83) 152 199
Overall mortalityf 1.00 (0.83-1.19) 52 52
Global Indexg 1.13 (1.02-1.25) 184 165
aAdapted from numerous WHI publications. WHI publications can be viewed at www.nhlbi.nih.gov/whi.
bResults are based on centrally adjudicated data.
cNominal confidence intervals unadjusted for multiple looks and multiple comparisons.
dNot included in “global index”.
eIncludes metastatic and non-metastatic breast cancer, with the exception of in-situ breast cancer.
fAll deaths, except from breast or colorectal cancer, definite or probable CHD, PE or cerebrovascular disease.
gA subset of the events was combined in a “global index,” defined as the earliest occurrence of CHD events, invasive breast cancer, stroke, pulmonary embolism, endometrial cancer, colorectal cancer, hip fracture, or death due to other causes.

Timing of initiation of estrogen plus progestin therapy relative to the start of menopause may affect the overall risk benefit profile. The WHI estrogen plus progestin substudy stratified by age showed in women 50 to 59 years of age a non-significant trend toward reduced risk for overall mortality [HR 0.69 (95 percent CI, 0.441.07)].

Women's Health Initiative Memory Study

The WHIMS estrogen-alone ancillary study of WHI enrolled 2,947 predominantly healthy hysterectomized postmenopausal women 65 years of age and older (45 percent were 65 to 69 years of age, 36 percent were 70 to 74 years of age, and 19 percent were 75 years of age and older) to evaluate the effects of daily CE (0.625 mg)-alone on the incidence of probable dementia (primary outcome) compared to placebo.

After an average follow-up of 5.2 years, the relative risk of probable dementia for CE-alone versus placebo was 1.49 (95 percent CI, 0.83-2.66). The absolute risk of probable dementia for CE-alone versus placebo was 37 versus 25 cases per 10,000 women-years. Probable dementia as defined in the study included Alzheimer's disease (AD), vascular dementia (VaD) and mixed type (having features of both AD and VaD). The most common classification of probable dementia in the treatment group and the placebo group was AD. Since the ancillary study was conducted in women 65 to 79 years of age, it is unknown whether these findings apply to younger postmenopausal women [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, and Use In Specific Populations].

The WHIMS estrogen plus progestin ancillary study enrolled 4,532 predominantly healthy postmenopausal women 65 years of age and older (47 percent were 65 to 69 years of age, 35 percent were 70 to 74 years of age, and 18 percent were 75 years of age and older) to evaluate the effects of daily CE (0.625 mg) plus MPA (2.5 mg) on the incidence of probable dementia (primary outcome) compared to placebo.

After an average follow-up of 4 years, the relative risk of probable dementia for CE plus MPA versus placebo was 2.05 (95 percent CI, 1.21-3.48). The absolute risk of probable dementia for CE plus MPA versus placebo was 45 versus 22 cases per 10,000 women-years. Probable dementia as defined in the study included AD, VaD and mixed type (having features of both AD and VaD). The most common classification of probable dementia in the treatment group and the placebo group was AD. Since the ancillary study was conducted in women 65 to 79 years of age, it is unknown whether these findings apply to younger postmenopausal women [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, and Use in Specific Populations].

When data from the two populations were pooled as planned in the WHIMS protocol, the reported overall relative risk for probable dementia was 1.76 (95 percent CI, 1.19-2.60). Differences between groups became apparent in the first year of treatment. It is unknown whether these findings apply to younger postmenopausal women

[see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, and Use In Specific Populations].

REFERENCES

8. Shumaker SA, et al. Conjugated Equine Estrogens and Incidence of Probable Dementia and Mild Cognitive Impairment in Postmenopausal Women. JAMA. 2004;291:2947-2958.

9. Jackson RD, et al. Effects of Conjugated Equine Estrogen on Risk of Fractures and BMD in Postmenopausal Women With Hysterectomy: Results From the Women's Health Initiative Randomized Trial. J Bone Miner Res. 2006;21:817-828.

10. Hendrix SL, et al. Effects of Conjugated Equine Estrogen on Stroke in the Women's Health Initiative. Circulation. 2006;113:2425-2434.

Last reviewed on RxList: 4/4/2014
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

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