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    Informing patients about estrogens.

    Schmidt AM

    FDA CONSUMER. 1976 Nov; 10(9):8-9.

    Estrogen therapy has been used most often to treat symptoms of menopause. It has also been used to treat certain diseases and to prevent miscarriages. These drugs entail risks as well as benefits. Recent studies have shown that women who take estrogens for more than 1 year have an increased risk of developing endometrial cancer compared with nonusers. Daughters of mothers who took DES (diethylstilbestrol) to prevent miscarriage have an increased risk of vaginal or cervical cancer. Due to these reported risks, the Food and Drug Administration has recommended warning labeling for these drugs and the preparation of a brochure to be given to prospective patients. Both the label and the brochure point out that estrogens are useless for menopause-related nervousness or to maintain soft skin or youthful feelings. No evidence exists that estrogens prevent miscarriages. They should only be used for severe vasomotor symptoms. Pregnancy is congenital birth defects. The risk of cancer increases with length and strength of dosage. Women should, therefore, take the lowest possible effective dose and take it for the shortest possible amount of time.
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