Different Forms of HRT: Climara, Vivelle, Fempatch, Alora

Please note: the information below is intended for general guidance only. EarlyMenopause.com cannot guarantee the current availability (or suitability) of any form of HRT. Consult your doctor for further information.

Contains: matrix estradiol patch

These are all the newer improved estrogen patches. Like the reservoir patches that were first designed, these patches continuously release natural, bio-identical estrogen into your system, but they tend to cause less skin irritation. According to one manufacturer, only about 9 percent of users developed significant skin irritation — about half that of Estraderm reservoir patch users. The matrix patch was first introduced in 1995, when the Climara patch came out. A year later, the makers of the Estraderm patch came out with their version of a matrix patch, Vivelle. Next came Fempatch, a lower dose estrogen patch. And most recently Vivelle came out with a new super-tiny patch — the Vivelle dot, about the size of a nickel or postage stamp.

In all cases, the patch doesn’t have the bubble that the Estraderm TTS patch does. Instead, it’s a flat, translucent patch that lies flat under your clothes and sticks better — even when you shower or swim. In addition, the matrix delivery system appears to deliver estrogen more steadily, maintaining more stable blood levels of estrogen. But you get a slightly lower level of estrogen in your blood from the matrix patch than you do with the reservoir patch Estraderm TTS — about 70 picograms of estradiol from the .1 mg matrix patch as compared to 100 picograms from the corresponding Estraderm patch.

  • Standard dosage: Climara: .025; .0375, .05, .06, .075; .1 mg;   Vivelle: .025, .0375, .05, .075; .1; Fempatch: .025 mg; Alora: .025, .05, .075 and 0.1
  • Pros: Easy to use; source of continuous estrogen (estradiol — bioidentical to human estradiol); less obvious and better adhesion than the Estraderm patch; wide range of available dosages allows for more flexibility than other forms of estrogen.  The Vivelle dot’s size is so small — the smallest available — that it’s nearly undetectable, a real plus for people who are active and who don’t want the hassle of the larger patches.  Finally, patches, in general, are a good choice for smokers — as studies have indicated that oral estrogen may not deliver the same amount of estrogen to smokers as non-smokers,  while patches don’t appear to have this same problem.
  • Cons: Can cause irritation