Updated September 2007-
Premarin, the brand name for conjugated estrogens and a common medication used during hormone replacement therapy (HRT), treats menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and sleep disturbances. Premarin also helps to minimize bone loss associated with osteoporosis
. The medication is derived from the urine of pregnant mares and contains a number of different estrogens
. Precisely how each of these various estrogens contribute to the drug's overall effectiveness has not been definitively determined.
Because of estrogen's link to uterine cancer, Premarin is indicated in women who have had hysterectomies. Women with intact uteruses undergoing HRT are usually prescribed Prempro
, a combination of two hormones, estrogen and progestin. The addition of progestin helps prevent overgrowth of the uterine lining, which can lead to cancer
Premarin was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1942 and is made by Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories. Side effects of Premarin use include, but may not be limited to, sharp chest or lower leg (calf) pain, breast lumps, severe headache
, shortness of breath, coughing up blood, severe stomach pain or swelling, abnormal vaginal bleeding, mild dizziness
, nausea and fluid retention. A July 2002 study conducted by researchers with the National Cancer Institute linked Premarin use to an increased risk of ovarian cancer in patients. According to the study, which followed 44,241 women over a period of 20 years, women using estrogen alone faced nearly twice the risk of developing ovarian cancer compared to similar women not taking the hormone. Women who used estrogen alone for 20 years or more were three times as likely to develop ovarian cancer.
In March 2004, the National Institutes of Health stopped a clinical trial of women taking estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy after researchers determined the pills were linked to an increased risk of stroke
. The 11,000 women involved in the study were taking the estrogen-only drug Premarin
In 2007, the
Institute for Safe Medication Practices and the Division of Public Health
Sciences, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, conducted a longitudinal
Adverse Events Reporting System Review
of the U.S.
FDA's most dangerous drugs
The study found estrogen to be one of the most
dangerous drugs on the market with some of the highest number of
serious outcomes during treatment. Estrogen was the number one drug in the study, according to the FDA
reports, to cause disability or other serious outcome. Over the eight years of the dangerous drug study, estrogen was found to
have caused over 11,514 serious health events in an 8-year period.
See your doctor if you have experienced serious health problems after undergoing Premarin therapy. In addition, it may be important to contact an attorney
who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits
within which you must commence suit.
- Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
- Balance Problems: Overview