(CBS) If you're a woman taking the estrogen hormone Evamist for hot flashes associated with menopause, you should keep your distance from children and pets. At the very least, wear long sleeves, says the FDA.
Evamist, which contains the estrogen hormone estradiol, is sprayed on the inside of the forearm between the elbow and the wrist. The drug can be transferred to the skin of the others through direct contact, and the FDA has received unsettling reports.
Six reports involved children ages 3 to 5 who came into contact with the drug, the agency announced yesterday. Both boys and girls had engorged breast tissue.
In all six cases, the tissue development occurred in the weeks and months after an adult they came into contact with had started using the hormone.
It's not just children who might be at risk, at least two female dogs have also suffered the unintended effects of the hormone, probably from being held by an owner or licking her arm, says the agency's report. One dog suffered liver failure, and both pets experienced swelling and other problems with their sex organs.
Here are some of the guidelines the FDA has offered for women taking this drug:
- Do not allow children to make contact with the area of the arm where Evamist was sprayed. If contact with children cannot be avoided, it is recommended that you wear a garment with long sleeves to cover the application site.
- If a child comes in direct contact with the arm where Evamist was sprayed, wash the child's skin with soap and water as soon as possible.
- Contact the child's health care professional if the child begins to have any of the following signs or symptoms: nipple or breast swelling or breast tenderness in females, or breast enlargement in males. Be sure to tell the health care professional that the child may have been exposed to Evamist.
- Do not allow pets to lick or touch the arm where Evamist was sprayed. Small pets may be especially sensitive to the estrogen in Evamist. Contact your pet's veterinarian if your pet exhibits signs of nipple and/or vulvar enlargement, or any other signs of illness.
If children come into contact with the adult's arms, the FDA said, they should immediately be washed with soap and water.