Contains: ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone acetate
FemHRT is a pill that offers you both an estrogen and progestin….but not the same ones as are in the commonly prescribed Prempro. Approved for controlling hot flashes and for osteoporosis prevention, and made available in 1999, FemHRT offers women wanting to try continuous HRT an additional option.
The big difference between FemHRT and Prempro? The progestin in FemHRT is norethrindrone acetate — a synthetic form of progesterone that often causes fewer side effects than medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA — most commonly sold under the brand name Provera). In addition, the estrogen in FemHRT isn’t the conjugated estrogen Premarin, but ethinyl estradiol — the synthetic form of estrogen most commonly seen in birth control pills.
As with the other oral continuous forms of HRT, the big plus to FemHRT is convenience: you only have to take one pill a day, and that’s that. And, because it is a continuous form of HRT — that is, you take both estrogen and progestin daily, typically, after a few months, you stop having your period completely. (Although in some women, this takes a little longer — and often, in the first few months, you may experience breakthrough bleeding). That said, many women report that breakthrough bleeding on FemHRT is much less than that experienced on Prempro.
All said, then, this is a good option for women who want the convenience of one-pill continuous HRT — but who have had problems with Prempro. On the negative side, however, FemHRT is all synthetic — so if you’re looking for a form of HRT that is bio-identical this isn’t the choice for you.
- Standard dosage: 5 mcg ethinyl estradiol, 1 mg NETA
- Pros: Appears to cause fewer side effects than the other oral forms of combination HRT — such as breakthrough bleeding, etc.
- Cons: Synthetic estrogen and progestin — so it’s not bio-identical to the hormones your body naturally makes
Please see “The Premature Menopause Book” by Kathryn Petras for sources.