What You Need to Know About Provera, Prempro and Premarin

white pills

Provera is a progestin hormone that alters the lining of the uterus. Provera is prescribed if your menstrual periods have stopped or a female hormone imbalance is causing your uterus to bleed abnormally. The pill is also used to treat certain menstrual problems or uterine problems such as endometriosis, menopausal symptoms, premenstrual tension, sexual aggressive behavior in men, and sleep apnea.

Before you begin taking Provera, you should have a physical exam from your doctor, including an examination of your breasts and pelvic organs as well as a cervical smear (Pap test). Since fluid retention is a possible side effect of Provera, you should tell your doctor if you suffer from epilepsy, migraines, asthma, or heart or kidney problems. While taking Provera, you may continue to experience regular menstrual bleeding even if menopause has started. Also, if you are diabetic, Provera could worsen your diabetes, so let your doctor know of any medical conditions before taking Provera.

Provera and Pregnancy

You should not take Provera if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. During the formative period, using Provera might put your unborn baby at increased risk for birth defects, even if you only use it for a few days. If you took Provera and later discovered that you were pregnant, talk to your doctor right away. Provera also can be found in breast milk, so you will need to decide between breastfeeding and taking Provera.

Possible side effects of Provera include:

  • Headache
  • Excessive growth of hair
  • Fluid retention
  • Breast tenderness; a sudden or excessive flow of milk
  • A blood clot in veins, lungs, or brain
  • Menstrual flow changes
  • Spotting
  • Yellowing eyes and skin
  • Breakthrough bleeding (between menstrual periods)
  • Insomnia
  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Lack of menstruation
  • Depression
  • Fever
  • Hair loss
  • Nausea
  • Acne
  • Anaphylaxis (life-threatening allergic reaction)
  • Cervical erosion or changes in secretions
  • Rash and skin discoloration
Important Note on Provera

Provera once was prescribed to prevent miscarriages. However, doctors now believe that this treatment is ineffective and potentially harmful to a baby. You should not take Provera if you have cancer of the breast or genital organs, liver disease, liver condition, a dead fetus still in the uterus, undiagnosed bleeding from the vagina, or have ever developed blood clots. Prempro

Prempro is used to treat the symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness, burning, and irritation. It is also used to prevent thinning of the bones (osteoporosis). Prempro should not be used to prevent heart disease because it may increase the risk of heart disease.

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is the thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density over time. Unfortunately, there are no early signs of the disease. Symptoms occur after the disease has developed and included:

  • Neck pain due to fractures of the spinal bones
  • Loss of height over time
  • Bone pain or tenderness
  • Stooped posture
  • Low back pain due to fractures of the spinal bones
  • Fractures with little or no trauma

Osteoporosis can be treated and prevented with diet and exercise. However, there is no guarantee. For prevention or treatment, many doctors prescribe bisphosphonate medication such as Prempro.

Possible side effects of Prempro include:

  • A breast lump
  • Migraine headache
  • Pain or swelling in your lower legs
  • Sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body
  • Chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling
  • Sudden headache, confusion, problems with vision, speech, or balance
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet
  • Jaundice
  • Pain, swelling, or tenderness in your stomach
  • Confusion, problems with memory or concentration

Less serious possible report side effects include:

  • Less serious possible side effects include:
  • Acne, increased hair growth, loss of scalp hair
  • Vaginal itching or discharge
  • Changes in your menstrual periods decreased sex drive
  • Mild nausea, vomiting, bloating, stomach pain
  • Breast pain, tenderness, or swelling
  • Problems with contact lenses
  • Darkening of facial skin
  • Headache, nervousness, dizziness, tired feeling
  • Changes in weight or appetite

Do not use Prempro if you have:

  • Any type of breast, uterine, or hormone-dependent cancer
  • Liver disease
  • A history of heart attack, stroke, or blood clots (especially in your lung or your lower body)
  • abnormal vaginal bleeding
Prempro Can Cause Birth Defects

Do not use Prempro if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant during treatment and seek medical attention immediately. Use an effective but safe form of birth control while taking Prempro. Prempro also can be found in breast milk, so you will need to decide between breastfeeding and taking Prempro.


Premarin is a mixture of estrogen hormones used to treat symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness, burning, and irritation. It is also used to prevent osteoporosis in postmenopausal women and replace estrogen in women with ovarian failure. Premarin is also sometimes used by men and women as part of cancer treatment. Premarin is available in pill form or as a vaginal cream.

Possible side effects of Premarin include:

  • Severe allergic reaction (hives, rash, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue).
  • Abnormal bleeding from the vagina
  • Breast lumps
  • Changes in vision or speech
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • One-sided weakness
  • Pain or tenderness in the upper abdomen
  • Pain or tenderness in the calves
  • Severe headache
  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Swelling of the hands or feet
  • Unusual vaginal discharge/itching/odor
  • Vomiting
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes

Possible less severe side effects of Premarin include:

  • Back pain
  • Bloating
  • Breast pain
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Gas
  • Hair loss
  • Headache
  • Increased cough
  • Increased/decreased sexual drive
  • Indigestion
  • Irregular vaginal bleeding or spotting
  • Itching
  • Joint pain
  • Sinus inflammation
  • Sleeplessness
  • Stomach pain
  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Vaginal inflammation
  • Weakness

Possible side effects of Premarin vaginal cream:

  • Severe allergic reaction
  • Breast lumps
  • Changes in vision or speech
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Dark urine
  • Persistent pain or tenderness in the upper abdomen, calves, stomach, or back
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge, itching or odor

Do not use Premarin if you have a history of heart attack, stroke, blood clots, and abnormal vaginal bleeding, liver disease, or any type of breast, uterine or hormone-dependent cancer. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

Provera, Prempro, and Premarin side effects can be severe, and you should seek legal help if you or a loved one have suffered due to taking these medications. If you would like to discuss your legal options, call us at 916.921.6400 or 800.404.5400 to set up a FREE consultation.

DISCLAIMER: This document is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a Retainer/Services Agreement. No attorney-client relationship will exist between you and our firm unless and until we enter into a signed Retainer/Services Agreement. The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, medical or legal advice. Do not stop taking any medication without consulting your physician.

Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 8.27.21]

Image by Jessica Hatchell from Pixabay 

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