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On Vivelle dot for 7 years now having breast tenderness On Vivelle dot for 7 years now having breast tenderness

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Unread 01-04-2009, 01:48 PM
On Vivelle dot for 7 years now having breast tenderness

I had a TVH Jan '02 and after a time trying to find the right HRT, I finally found one - Vivelle Dot .1 which I have been on for 6 1/2 years now. It has seemed to work well enough, even though I still have ocasional night sweats. Now, I have tender and swollen breasts - they hurt enough sometimes that it wakes me up at night. Speaking of waking me up at night, I really don't sleep well too. Most nights I take 5mg of Ambien and when I don't take it, I don't sleep. Does your hormone balance change with age even when you take the same amount everyday... I am only 44. Or could it be too much stress? I have had quite a bit of outside stress added to my life these last couple of years... selling our house, living with my in-laws while we built our new home, moving from an office setting of 16 years to a home based office (and now with the ecomomy the way it is, my area of business is not well), my long time mentor in my business passed away in May, my birth mom passed away in July and my son's best friend was killed in a car accident in August just down our road. I also have a few other stress points that are heavy on my mind and heart as well that I am working on. And to top it off, I am having knee surgery Wed for a torn Meniscus. UGH! I entertained the idea of anti-depresant drugs but I was on Zoloft when I started to make a few major changes about 3 years ago and with my Dr's ok, I worked myself off of them... I not depressed - just stressed!!!

So, back to my question... does the level of hormones change as we get older or does the stress level change them?

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Unread 01-04-2009, 04:34 PM
On Vivelle dot for 7 years now having breast tenderness

Hi talafon. I have returned to the site after several months' absence, came back to check on something related to the Vivelle patch, and saw your post. What I'm about to write is something I mentioned several times on this site. I'm 58. I went through natural menopause at age 47 after hysterectomy (kept ovaries) at age 27. I started on the original Vivelle big patch at age 48 and was on it 10 years until today. This patch has been discontinued, and I got what I could of what pharmacies around me had in stock, even went to another state to get it -- that's how desperate I was. I ran out today. People can get only the smaller Vivelle Dot now. I returned to this site to see if there is any news another drug company may manufacture a generic equivalent of the original Vivelle patch, since its patent expired in 2008.

Some women say the Vivelle Dot works for them, but I've noticed they have usually added other things to it, like an extra patch or added hormone in some other form. If the Dot did what it's supposed to at its stated dosage, as the original Vivelle did, you shouldn't have to add more estrogen. This was my experience. Vivelle Dot does not work for me -- I tried it several times. I ran into some of the problems you are having on the .1, which I did NOT have on the original big patch at .075 dose for 10 years! -- the trouble sleeping, the night sweats, the tender breasts. Never had that on the big patch except rarely. On the Dot, I fiddled with pieces of added patch and other crazy stuff we shouldn't have to do. But do what works, given our choices. I put on a Climara patch today and can already tell I'm getting too much estrogen at once from it, and it's not going to work for me. That's TMI here, but to get back to your thing, this is just my opinion, from experience and what I've read, but I think if you are getting sufficient estrogen, your brain will shut down and go to sleep. If you aren't getting enough, you lie awake no matter how tired you are, because the brain is missing a critical signal. The tender breasts, though, suggest too much estrogen.

My experience with the Dot was that I absorbed too much at once, and then it ran out before it was time to change it. So I'd get the breast tenderness for the first day or two, and then the trouble sleeping and the hot flashes and the migraines (from the estrogen fluctuation) after that.

Stress, level of exercise, illness, some drugs affect your body's use of estrogen. In the 10 years I've been on estrogen replacement, using the same patch, I never noticed any change in the level of my body requirement for this hormone, except when very ill.
Unread 01-04-2009, 10:16 PM
On Vivelle dot for 7 years now having breast tenderness

What about having hormone levels checked just so you know what's going on? Just my 2˘. Hope you get relief soon.
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Unread 01-05-2009, 11:07 AM
On Vivelle dot for 7 years now having breast tenderness

Hi, talafon! I'm 63 and have been at this hormone business for 13 years. My hormone needs have frequently changed. For example, if stress has made you gain or lose weight, that changes your estrogen need because your body fat makes estrone, a weak estrogen.

I have discovered that what is not enough estrogen for getting rid of most symptoms can be too much for the breasts. This is a real dilemma! I have not been able to use the Vivelle dot because of breast pain, though the 100 mcg. dose is not quite adequate to stop other symptoms.

I also started having breast pain with the Estrace pill after my recent hysterectomy, and I have used Estrace for most of these 13 years. When I lowered the dose to where I wouldn't have breast pain, I flushed, got migraines and all my other horrible deficiency symptoms. So I started using the gel and it has been working best, though I still feel unstable compared to how I was doing before the hysterectomy. If you can't make things right by decreasing your dose, you might have to try different forms of estrogen. By the way, the Vivelle can be cut with scissors. Half a 100 mcg patch is 50 mcg estradiol, etc.

Moonsong, I am interested in hearing more about the old Vivelle patch. I would love to be able to use the Vivelle dot, but had the same problems you did. What was the biggest dose of the old patch? Was it a two-layer patch where you could see liquid between the layers? I used one like that, the Estraderm, when I was first starting out. It did not cause breast pain, but the biggest dose wasn't enough to stop my other symptoms, either. It was also uncomfortable.
Unread 01-05-2009, 05:34 PM
On Vivelle dot for 7 years now having breast tenderness

Hi faded flower. The original Vivelle big patch, which came out before the Vivelle Dot and which was discontinued in 2008, was a dot matrix patch like the Dot. It was NOT like Estraderm, which is a reservoir patch. Estraderm is NOT like the dot matrix patches such as Vivelle, Climara, and Alora, which have the estradiol distributed throughout the adhesive - one layer.

The original Vivelle was larger than the Dot and shaped like an oval. I believe it used one adhesive. The Dot has two, and I have questions about the new adhesive in the Dot, which has silicone, I believe -- I wondered about the safety of it.

The highest dose of original Vivelle was .1. I believe the lowest was .025, but I'm not sure. I was on what amounted to the .075 mg dose. For 10 years, I bought the .1 original Vivelle and cut off one-fourth of the patch with the backing. I kept the one-fourth I cut off, keeping it in the pouch and folding over the top of the pouch, and used it in combinations equaling three-fourths of a patch until I used the whole box. That way, a box of patches lasted longer, since my insurance made me pay full price for that brand. Also, I had extra pieces in case the patch came off my skin. This almost never happened.

I have contacted Novartis, which makes Vivelle. They told me that the discontinuation of the original Vivelle big patch was a business decision, which I interpret as profit decision, given that the patent on the original patch expired in 2008, meaning another company could move in and make it. There was some indication that Sandoz would do it, but I haven't heard any more about it. I hope we will get this patch back in exact equivalent form, because when I read the struggles many women on the site are having, I think to myself that if only they could get the original Vivelle, I bet this would be the solution for many. The estrogen release in original Vivelle was very controlled, even, and steady, no jerking you around. This is not true with the Dot, Climara, and Alora -- their release is not so well-controlled and even. Also, the Dot is simply too small to provide the same kind of release. I have migraine and blood-pressure problems and simply cannot tolerate such fluctuations.
Unread 01-05-2009, 06:53 PM
On Vivelle dot for 7 years now having breast tenderness

Moonsong, I also have frequent migraines and blood pressure problems without a steady level of estrogen. I am glad to see I am not the only one who still needs estrogen so many years after menopause. I keep hearing that one should take it for "the lowest dose possible for the shortest amount of time". Well, I am sure I am going to need it for the rest of my life because my symptoms are so horrendous without it.

I have actually fainted and wound up being sent to the ER in an ambulance due to blood pressure problems when my estrogen drops too low. I don't need any blood pressure medicine when my estrogen is steady, but if it is not, I start to get chest pain on the left side radiating down to my fingertips. I remember reading in a Dr. Elizabeth Vliet book about a woman in her 30's who had a heart attack, not from plaque in her arteries, but from vasospasms from estrogen deficiency. She was in intensive care and expected to die until the family consulted Vliet, put an estrogen patch on her, and she recovered quickly.

Was the old Vivelle as big as the Estraderm? That was pretty big. I will be keeping my eye out for Sandoz copying that old Vivelle patch; it sounds like it might be the answer for me. I wonder if they have anything like it in Europe.
Unread 01-05-2009, 07:11 PM
On Vivelle dot for 7 years now having breast tenderness

The old Vivelle was not as big as Estraderm. The .1 was larger than the other doses, but not terribly large at all. It was not thick like Estraderm either. Same thickness as the Dot.

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