Vivelle-Dot (estradiol transdermal system)

The following drug information is obtained from various newswires, published medical journal articles, and medical conference presentations.


Approval Status:

Approved May 2002

Specific Treatments:

Post-menopausal osteoporosis

General Information

Vivelle-Dot has been approved by the FDA for the prevention of post-menopausal osteoporosis. This estrogen replacement therapy is currently marketed for the treatment of menopausal symptoms.

Vivelle-Dot is a smaller, revised version of the original Vivelle transdermal product, which was approved in 2000. Vivelle-Dot is designed to deliver estradiol, the primary estrogen produced by the ovaries, via a small patch that is applied twice weekly. The product utilizes Noven's DOT Matrix transdermal drug delivery technology to effectively deliver the drug through the small patch surface area. DOT Matrix patches use ratios of silicone, acrylic and drug to regulate the rate of delivery through the skin and into the bloodstream.

With the approval for post-menopausal osteoporosis, Vivelle-Dot is now available in five dosage strengths: 0.0250, 0.0375, 0.0500, 0.0750 and 0.1000 mg/day. The new 0.0250 mg/day strength is only indicated for the prevention of post-menopausal osteoporosis (and not for the treatment of menopausal symptoms).

Clinical Results

Note: Vivelle-Dot was shown to be bioequivalent to Vivelle, the original formulation.

The effectiveness of Vivelle for the prevention of post-menopausal osteoporosis was evaluated in a two-year, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study. The trial included a total of 261 hysterectomized (161) and non-hysterectomized (100), surgically or naturally menopausal women with no evidence of osteoporosis. One hundred ninety-four of the subjects were randomized to receive one of four doses of Vivelle (0.1000, 0.0500, 0.0375 or 0.0250 mg/day), and 67 subjects were randomized to receive a placebo. Over two years, the study systems were applied to the buttock or the abdomen twice a week.

Two hundred thirty-two (89%) of the randomized subjects (173 receiving Vivelle, 59 receiving placebo) contributed data to the primary efficacy measurement: analysis of percent change from baseline in bone mineral density (BMD) of the AP lumbar spine. An increase in BMD of the AP lumbar spine was observed in all Vivelle dose groups; in contrast, a decrease in AP lumbar spine BMD was observed in subjects receiving placebo. All doses of Vivelle were significantly superior to placebo at all time points, with the exception of Vivelle 0.0500 mg/day at six months.

A secondary efficacy measurement in the trial was an analysis of percent change from baseline in femoral neck BMD. Results showed that all doses of Vivelle were significantly superior to the placebo at 24 months. Additionally, the highest dose of Vivelle was more effective than the placebo at all time points.

Side Effects

Systemic adverse events reported with Vivelle in clinical trials include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Headache (32.3% for Vivelle, 28% for placebo)
  • Breast tenderness (10% for Vivelle, 0% for placebo)
  • Fluid retention (2.4% for Vivelle, 1.9% for placebo)
  • Back pain (9% for Vivelle, 6.4% for placebo)

Mechanism of Action

Estrogens are largely responsible for the development and maintenance of the female reproductive system and secondary sexual characteristics. Although circulating estrogens exist in a dynamic equilibrium of metabolic interconversions, estradiol is the principal intracellular human estrogen and is substantially more potent than its metabolites, estrone and estriol, at the receptor level. The primary source of estrogen in normally cycling adult women is the ovarian follicle, which secretes 70 to 500 µg of estradiol daily, depending on the phase of the menstrual cycle. After menopause, most endogenous estrogen is produced by conversion of androstenedione, secreted by the adrenal cortex, to estrone by peripheral tissues. Thus, estrone and the sulfate conjugated form, estrone sulfate, are the most abundant circulating estrogens in post-menopausal women.

Estrogens act through binding to nuclear receptors in estrogen-responsive tissues. To date, two estrogen receptors have been identified. They vary in proportion from tissue to tissue. Circulating estrogens modulate the pituitary secretion of the gonadotropins, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), through a negative feedback mechanism. Estrogen replacement therapy acts to reduce the elevated levels of these hormones seen in post-menopausal women. (from FDA label information)

Additional Information

Vivelle-Dot is marketed by Novogyne Pharmaceuticals, which is jointly owned by Noven and Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

For additional information on Vivelle-Dot, please visit the product web site at

Additionally, the following web sites provide information for those interested in learning about osteoporosis:

National Institutes of Health Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases - National Resource Center

National Osteoporosis Foundation

National Institute on Aging