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How Does Estramustine Work?

Technically, estramustine belongs to a group of drugs known as alkylating agents. However, it works differently than other alkylating agents.
Estramustine is made up of a combination of estradiol (a form of estrogen) that has been chemically linked to nornitrogen mustard, a chemotherapy medicine. It works in two ways to stop the growth of cancer cells.
The chemotherapy portion works like an antimicrotubule agent. Antimicrotubule agents interfere with the action of microtubules, structures in cells that help move chromosomes during cell division. By preventing microtubules from moving chromosomes, estramustine helps stop cancer cells from dividing.
When estramustine is broken down in the body, estradiol is released. Estradiol is a hormone therapy that stops the body from producing male hormones (androgens), such as testosterone. Because prostate cancer cells need male hormones to grow, hormone therapy such as estradiol can slow down the growth of prostate cancer cells.

When and How to Take This Medicine

Some general considerations to keep in mind during treatment with estramustine include the following:
  • This medication comes in the form of a capsule. It is normally taken by mouth three to four times a day.
  • You should take estramustine with water, on an empty stomach, and one hour before or two hours after a meal.
  • Do not consume milk, milk products, or calcium-rich foods with your estramustine dose. Doing so may decrease the amount of the drug absorbed into your body.
  • Try to take your doses at about the same times each day to keep an even level of estramustine in your bloodstream.
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed.
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Estramustine Drug Information

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