• Ronald J. Ruggiero Pharm D,

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    • Ronald J. Ruggiero is a faculty member of the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine and comanages hormonal pharmacotherapy patients in the UCSF Women's Health Clinic. He is the director of the pharmacy resident project of the UCSF National Center of Excellence in Women's Health. Dr. Ruggiero received his Pharm D from the UCSF School of Pharmacy and a Menopause Educator Certificate from the North American Menopause Society.

  • Frances E. Likis CNM, FNP, MSN

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    • Frances Likis is a faculty member of the Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing and provides full-scope midwifery care in a collaborative MD/CNM/NP practice in North Carolina. She received her BS and MSN from Vanderbilt University and a certificate in nurse-midwifery from the Community-Based Nurse-Midwifery Education Program (CNEP).

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Estrogen is the central component in 6 of the 100 most widely prescribed medications in the United States today. This steroid has several therapeutic uses including contraceptive applications, treatment of menopausal symptoms, and the prevention of osteoporosis. A wide variety of estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) and estrogen plus progestational hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) preparations are available. In addition, there are an increasing number of products with estrogenic properties that are being promoted as alternatives to drugs containing estrogen, such as phytoestrogens and selective estrogen receptor modifiers (SERMs). This article reviews the physiology of estrogenic effects, estrogen metabolism, and the pharmacokinetics of marketed preparations.