Compare Climara vs. estradiol / norethindrone

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

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Treats low estrogen, relieves menopause symptoms, and lowers your risk of osteoporosis.

Climara (estradiol patch) is a treatment for low estrogen that is used only once weekly, and it may have fewer side effects than oral estrogen pills.

Relieves menopause symptoms and lowers your risk of osteoporosis.

Activella (estradiol / norethindrone) helps relieve menopausal symptoms and prevent bone loss. There can be many side effects, so it's important to talk to your doctor about the benefits and potential hassles of this drug before using it.

Upsides
  • Climara (estradiol patch) replaces estrogen to your whole body and relieves many symptoms due to low estrogen, like hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
  • The patch is good for people who don't want to or can't take daily pills.
  • Climara (estradiol patch) is available as a generic product, which lowers the cost.
  • By using a patch instead of a pill, there's a lower risk of side effects such as blood clots and stroke since lower amounts of estrogen are used in patches.
  • Lowers your risk of fractures by keeping your bones healthy.
  • Replaces estrogen in your entire body and relieves multiple symptoms of menopause.
  • Lowers your risk of fractures by keeping your bones healthy.
  • Improves mood, energy, and mental alertness for some people.
  • Generic available, so cost is usually lower.
Downsides
  • The patch can fall off, especially if you like to regularly swim, take baths or use saunas or steamrooms.
  • Increases your risk of uterine and breast cancer.
  • If you have your uterus, you have to use the Climara (estradiol patch) with another hormone called progestin to lower your risk of uterine cancer.
  • Can worsen other health conditions, like high cholesterol, asthma, diabetes, fluid retention, underactive thyroid and migraines.
  • If you're only having vaginal dryness or inflammation and not hot flashes, it's better to use creams that you can apply to the affected area instead of Climara (estradiol patch).
  • More potential side effects since Activella (estradiol / norethindrone) exposes your whole body to two hormones.
  • Raises your risk of developing a stroke and blood clots.
  • You may get irregular bleeding and spotting that can last a few months to a year.
  • Should only use if you still have a uterus.
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Used for
  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness and inflammation
  • Low estrogen
  • Ovarian failure
  • Prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis
  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal dryness and inflammation
  • Prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis
Dosage forms
  • Patch
  • Pill
Price
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Reviews
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Side effects
16possible side effects
  • Breast pain
    28%
  • Lung infection
    17%
  • Stomach pain
    16%
  • Headache
    13%
  • Pain
    11%
  • Swelling of arms and legs
    10%
  • Back pain
    9%
  • Depression
    8%
  • Gas
    7%
  • White or yellow vaginal discharge
    7%
  • Sore throat
    7%
  • Nausea
    6%
  • Stuffy nose
    6%
  • Joint pain
    5%
  • Sinus infection
    5%
  • Itchiness
    3%
See more detailed side effects
10possible side effects
  • Breast pain
    21%
  • Headache
    17%
  • Nausea
    10%
  • Upper airway infection
    10%
  • Post-menopausal bleeding
    10%
  • Sinus infection
    7%
  • Ovarian cyst
    7%
  • Back pain
    3%
  • Difficulty sleeping
    3%
  • Accidental injury
    3%
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • Endometrial cancer
    • Using estrogen for more than one year
  • Breast cancer
    • Personal or family history of breast cancer
    • Using estrogen for more than one year
  • Increased risk of blood clots and stroke
    • Personal or family history of blood clots
    • Smoking
    • Obesity
    • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • Increased risk of heart disease
    • Smoking
    • Obesity
    • High blood pressure
    • High blood sugar
    • High cholesterol
    • Age 50 or older
  • Dementia
    • Age 65 or older
  • Pancreas swelling (pancreatitis)
    • High levels of triglycerides
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Endometrial cancer
    • Using estrogen for more than 1 year
  • Breast cancer
    • Personal or family history of breast cancer
    • Using estrogen for more than one year
  • Increased risk of blood clots and stroke
    • Personal or family history of blood clots
    • High blood pressure
    • Smoking
    • Obesity
    • High cholesterol
    • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • Dementia
    • Age 65 or older
  • Pancreas swelling (pancreatitis)
    • History of high triglycerides
See more detailed risks and warnings