Which medications in the drug class Estrogen Derivatives are used in the treatment of Osteoporosis?

Updated: Jan 20, 2021
  • Author: Rachel Elizabeth Whitaker Elam, MD, MSc; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Estrogen Derivatives

Estrogen derivatives are approved for the prevention of osteoporosis and relief of menopause-associated vasomotor symptoms and vulvovaginal atrophy. They are used to increase the serum estrogen level, which, in turn, decreases the rate of bone resorption. The lowest effective dose for the shortest duration necessary should be used. Estrogen therapy reduces bone resorption and retards or halts postmenopausal bone loss. Estrogen therapy is no longer a first-line approach for the treatment of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women because of increased risk of breast cancer, stroke, venous thromboembolism, and coronary disease. The FDA recommends that other approved nonestrogen treatments be considered first for osteoporosis prevention.

Conjugated estrogens (Premarin)

Conjugated estrogens (Premarin)

Estrogens can directly affect bone mass through estrogen receptors in bone, reducing bone turnover and bone loss. Estrogens can also indirectly increase intestinal calcium absorption and renal calcium conservation and, therefore, improve calcium balance.

Estradiol (Estrace, Estraderm, Menostar, Vivelle-Dot, Climara, Estraderm, Alora)

Estradiol restores estrogen levels to concentrations that induce negative feedback at gonadotropic regulatory centers; this, in turn, reduces the release of gonadotropins from the pituitary. Estradiol increases the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and many proteins in target tissues; it also inhibits osteoclastic activity and delays bone loss. In addition, evidence suggests a reduced incidence of fractures.


Estropipate is indicated for the prevention of osteoporosis. The results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled 2-year study have shown that treatment with 1 tablet of estropipate, 0.75 mg daily for 25 days (of a 31-day cycle per month), prevents vertebral bone mass loss in postmenopausal women. When estrogen therapy is discontinued, bone mass declines at a rate comparable to that of the immediate postmenopausal period. There is no evidence that estrogen replacement therapy restores bone mass to premenopausal levels.

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