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A generic drug is a copy of the brand-name drug with the same dosage, safety, strength, quality, consumption method, performance, and intended use. Before generics become available on the market, the generic company must prove it has the same active ingredients as the brand-name drug and works in the same way and in the same amount of time in the body.
The only differences between generics and their brand-name counterparts is that generics are less expensive and may look slightly different (eg. different shape or color), as trademarks laws prevent a generic from looking exactly like the brand-name drug.
Generics are less expensive because generic manufacturers don't have to invest large sums of money to develop a drug. When the brand-name patent expires, generic companies can manufacture a copy of the brand-name and sell it at a substantial discount.
Elestrin is estradiol 0.06% in a colorless, non-staining gel supplied in a non-aerosol, metered-dose pump container. Estradiol is a form of estrogen, a female sex hormone made in the ovaries that regulates many processes in the body. Elestrin is used after menopause to reduce moderate to severe hot flashes. Ovaries normally stop making estrogens when a woman is between 45 to 55 years old. This drop in body estrogen levels causes the “change of life” or menopause (the end of monthly menstrual periods). When estrogen levels begin dropping, some women develop very uncomfortable symptoms, such as feelings of warmth in the face, neck, and chest, or sudden strong feelings of heat and sweating (“hot flashes”). In some women, the symptoms are mild, and they will not need estrogens. In other women, symptoms can be more severe and treatment with products such as Elestrin may help.
Use Elestrin exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Estradiol may increase your risk of developing a condition that may lead to uterine cancer. Your doctor may prescribe a progestin to take while you are using estradiol, to help lower this risk. Report any unusual vaginal bleeding right away. Elestrin comes with patient instructions for safe and effective use, and directions for priming the gel pump. Follow these directions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. Apply Elestrin only to clean, dry, unbroken skin. Do not apply to skin that is red or irritated. Never apply this medicine to the breasts. Elestrin is applied once daily to the upper arm using a metered-dose pump which delivers 0.87 gram of Elestrin gel per actuation. Dosage should be started with the lowest effective dose of Elestrin, which is one pump per day. Subsequent dosage adjustment may be made based upon the response. This dose should be periodically reassessed by the healthcare provider. Use the gel at the same time each day. Do not rub the Elestrin gel in, but allow it to dry on your skin for at least 5 minutes before you dress. Wash your hands with soap and water after applying Elestrin gel. Avoid allowing other people to get this medicine on their skin. If this happens, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water, Children should avoid coming into contact with skin areas where you have applied Elestrin. Topical estradiol is absorbed through the skin and can cause premature puberty in a child who comes into contact with this medicine or with skin where the medicine was applied. Cover treated areas with clothing to protect others from coming into contact with the skin where you apply this medicine. Your doctor should check your progress on a regular basis (every 3 to 6 months) to determine whether you should continue this treatment. Self-examine your breasts for lumps on a monthly basis, and have regular mammograms while using estradiol. If you need surgery or medical tests or if you will be on bed rest, you may need to stop using this medicine for a short time. Any doctor or surgeon who treats you should know that you are using estradiol.