Ethinylestradiol is a man-made form of the naturally occurring female hormone called oestrogen. It is prescribed to treat period (menstrual) problems, and also to help ease menopausal symptoms. It is usually prescribed alongside another female hormone called a progestogen.

Ethinylestradiol is used to supplement or replace the body's natural oestrogen. It helps to relieve many of the problems associated with the menopause, such as hot flushes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. It can also help to protect against osteoporosis (thinning of the bones) although other treatments are usually preferred for this.

This leaflet is appropriate if you have been prescribed ethinylestradiol for a menstrual disorder or for hormone replacement therapy (HRT). If you have been prescribed it for any other reason, please ask your doctor for further advice or refer to the manufacturer's printed information leaflet. Ethinylestradiol is also one of the hormones that are used in the contraceptive pill (the pill) - there is more information about this in a separate leaflet called Combined hormonal contraceptives.

    It is indicated for
  • 1) Post menopausal symptoms due to estrogen deficiency.
  • 2) Prevention of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women at high risk of future fractures who are intolerant of, or contraindicated for, other medicinal products approved for the prevention of osteoporosis.
  • 3) Palliative treatment of prostatic cancer.
  • 4) Hormone replacement therapy for failure of ovarian development e.g. in patients with gonadal dysgenesis where initial estrogen therapy is later followed by combined estrogen/progestogen therapy.
  • 5) Disorders of menstruation, given in conjunction with a progestogen.

Ethinylestradiol Tablets are not indicated during pregnancy. If pregnancy occurs during medication with Ethinylestradiol Tablets treatment should be withdrawn immediately. The results of most epidemiological studies to date relevant to inadvertent fetal exposure to estrogens indicate no teratogenic or fetotoxic effects. Ethinylestradiol Tablets are not indicated during lactation

Side Effects

Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

  • Acne
  • Breast tenderness or enlargement
  • changes in appetite
  • changes in weight
  • dizziness
  • Headache
  • Loss of scalp hair
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Stomach cramps or bloating
  • Vaginal spotting or breakthrough bleeding; vomiting


Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur while taking ethinyl estradiol / levonorgestrel:

  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Absent menstrual period
  • Breast discharge
  • Breast discharge
  • Breast lumps
  • Calf or leg pain
  • Swelling, or tenderness
  • Change in amount of urine produced
  • Chest pain or heaviness
  • Confusion
  • Coughing of blood
  • Dark urine
  • Fainting
  • Mental or mood changes (eg, depression)
  • Migraines
  • Numbness of an arm or leg
  • One-sided weakness
  • Pale stools
  • Persistent, severe, or recurring headache or dizziness
  • Persistent vaginal spotting
  • Severe pain or tenderness in the stomach
  • Shortness of breath
  • Slurred speech
  • Sudden severe headache or vomiting
  • Swelling of the fingers, hands, legs, or ankles
  • Unusual or severe vaginal bleeding
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Vaginal irritation, discharge, or change in secretions
  • Vision changes (eg, sudden vision loss, double vision)
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes (with or without fever).