The risk of hormonal medications

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by healthywannabe, May 31, 2003.

  1. healthywannabe

    healthywannabe New Member

    Hello. I was watching the television the other day and they showed a study that women who took hormonal medications were at a MUCH HIGHER risk of getting a stroke or heart attack. Thought you all should know. have a gr8 day! peace..>ZOe
  2. Shirl

    Shirl New Member

    The only hormone I have ever taken is Melatonin. It is called a neurohomone and it produced in a tiny glan at the base of the brain.

    When you get older the body slows its production of Melatonin, and it causes us not to be able to fall asleep.

    Other than this, I have never taken any hormone therapy in my life.

    Thanks for the infomation, I know others will be very interested.

    Shalom, Shirl
  3. klutzo

    klutzo New Member

    I belive this applies only to estrogen, or estrogen combinations, but does not apply to the non-sex hormones.
  4. Dara

    Dara New Member

    I read the article in the newspaper and I took it that it applied when you took two types of hormone medications. Don't remember what they were right now, of course. I take Premarin, I was given it in the hospital just hours after my hysterectomy ten years ago and I've taken it ever since. I was told at the time that it would protect my heart and bones.

  5. Applyn59

    Applyn59 New Member

    U.S. Studies: More Bad News for Hormone Therapy
    Tue May 27, 2003 05:27 PM ET
    CHICAGO (Reuters) - The most common form of hormone replacement therapy, already linked to breast cancer, stroke and heart disease, does not improve mental functioning as some earlier studies suggested and may increase the risk of dementia, researchers said on Tuesday.

    The news, published in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association, was the latest in a sometimes confusing stream of reports on estrogen combined with progestin to combat post-menopausal problems.

    The hormones have been shown to halt or reverse osteoporosis, lessen the risk of hip fractures and prevent uterine cancer. But a major government study on long-term use was halted last summer after it showed the estrogen-progestin combination sold as Wyeth's Prempro carried an increased risk of ovarian cancer, heart attack and stroke.

    Studies are continuing to determine whether estrogen alone is safer when not combined with progestin; drug makers also believe lower doses of the drugs are safer.

    Tuesday's report from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center involved an offshoot of the study which was halted.

    It found the hormone combination doubled the risk for probable dementia in women 65 and older and did not prevent mild cognitive impairment. Translated to a population of 10,000 women taking the combined therapy, that would mean an additional 23 cases of dementia per year, it said.

    The study involved 4,532 women, about half of whom received the drugs while the rest were given an inert placebo.

    Wyeth issued a statement saying it had revised its labeling to reflect the findings, but also said the average age of women in the study was 71, a level where the risk of dementia is higher to begin with than 51, the average age when therapy starts.

    "The overall individual risk to women is low, although there is reason for concern," said principal investigator Sally Shumaker. "Because of the potential harm and lack of benefit found, we recommend that older post-menopausal women not take the combination hormone therapy to prevent dementia."

    The Food and Drug Administration issued a statement saying it will not require any changes in labeling for affected products but in general women should talk to their doctors before using estrogen-progestin products. They should "use the lowest dose for the shortest duration to reach treatment goals, although it is not known at what dose there may be less risk of serious side effects," it said."

    The same researchers, in a separate report, also looked at overall cognitive functioning in the women, including concentration, language, memory and abstract reasoning.

    They found that women taking estrogen-progestin performed slightly worse than the placebo group.

    The study was funded by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and the National Institutes of Health.

    Wyeth has won U.S. government approval to market lower-dose forms of estrogen-only Premarin and Prempro. Since the government test on the stronger strength drug was halted last year, combined sales of Premarin and Prempro have plunged 40 percent.
  6. nancyneptune

    nancyneptune New Member

    Sales of Premarin and Prempro have plummetted 40 % Woohoo! No one should be on pregnant horse piss anyway. It's no good for anyone, there are better, synthetic drugs. Maybe they'll let those poor horses outta their stalls now!
  7. Plantscaper

    Plantscaper New Member

    are we sure whether progesterone drops are safe or pregnenolone...I have started the pregnenolone, l0mg every 3 days...Klutzo, what do the progesterone drops come from and do you know the safety level?

    Striving to at least do no harm is my motto..although, at times, we have to take unknowable risks..[This Message was Edited on 06/01/2003]
  8. kalina

    kalina New Member

    I believe the studies being mentioned here are for Premarin (a synthetic HRT drug made from pregnant mares' urine). I had read the studies, too, and asked my endocrinologist if the Vivelle Dot estrogen patch I was using was safe. She said since she would NEVER put synthetic hormones into her body, she wouldn't put them into her patients' bodies, either. There are more natural forms of HRT available that do not carry the high risk of strokes or heart attacks that Premarin and other synthetics have.

  9. Applyn59

    Applyn59 New Member

    I was wondering the same thing myself!

    I thought some meds came from the urine of
    Italian nuns. Am I crazy?
  10. lilwren

    lilwren New Member

    I am estrogen dominant and it is causing all sorts of problems - I'm working on it though. I finally found someone willing to take hormone tests - ALL the male docs I've been to refused to test for it for years, and years! They kept telling me 'if your periods are regular then you're fine'. Docs are so arrogant! Anyway, my estrogen is through the roof and progesterone is at zero (even though I've been supplementing with cream and oil for the last 8 months). I'm going to start on a pill form of natural progesterone asap.

    Soy products contain estrogens and should be avoided if you're estrogen dominant. Before I knew better I made my condition worst by using excess soy to replace meat protein!

    Just wanted to share this - sorry it's so long.

    Sharon L

    (Excerpt from What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause by John R. Lee. M.D.)

    As I've mentioned throughout the book, in Western industrialized cultures, pharmaceutical companies buy natural progesterone (derived from yarns or soybeans), and then chemically alter its molecular form to produce the various progestins, which, not being found in nature, are patentable and therefore more profitable. Most physicians are unaware that their prescription progestins are made from progesterone (from yams or soybeans) and that natural progesterone is available, safer than progestins, more effective, and relatively inexpensive.

    Whether or not to use natural progesterone when a woman is premenopausal is a decision best made by each individual woman working with a health care professional familiar with female hormones and the use of natural progesterone, and based on the signs and symptoms of estrogen dominance that follows.

    Signs and Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance in a Premenopausal Woman

    Water retention, edema (swelling, bloating)
    Fatigue, lack of energy
    Breast swelling, fibrocystic breasts
    Premenstrual mood swings, depression
    Loss of sex drive
    Heavy or irregular menses
    Uterine fibroids
    Craving for sweets
    Weight gain, fat deposition at hips and thighs
    Symptoms of low thyroid such as cold hands and feet


    Depending upon the amount of progesterone in the jar or tube, you'll want to use anywhere from 1/8 to 1(2 teaspoon of the cream per day, or three to 10 drops of the oil.

    Normal production of progesterone during the middle of a normal menstrual cycle is 20 to 24 milligrams a day for 12 to 14 days. Thus, normal progesterone production during a menstrual month is 250 milligrams or so.

    Let's say each two-ounce jar or tube of 3 percent (by volume) or 1.6 percent (by weight) progesterone cream contains 950 milligrams. Thus one-half of a two-ounce jar or tube would be more than sufficient to maintain adequate progesterone needs in a post-menopausal woman for one month. This would amount to 20 to 30 milligrams per day.

    The best way to tell if enough is being used is whether your symptoms are relieved. For example, when estrogen dominance exists throughout the menstrual month, water retention and weight gain occur in the week before menstruation. After sufficient progesterone is supplemented, this cyclic weight gain no longer occurs. If you are menopausal and experiencing hot flashes or vaginal dryness, you will certainly know if those symptoms improve.

    Since there are varying amounts of progesterone in the creams, and every woman's biochemistry and ability to absorb and use the cream are different, the actual dose will vary. Since natural progesterone is notable for its freedom from side effects, such latitude in dosing carries no risk.

    For premenopausal women, stopping the cream at day 26 or 28 usually results in a normal menstrual period within 48 hours or so.

    For menopausal women, a short period of not using the hormone tends to maintain receptor sensitivity. Since many post-menopausal patients do not begin supplementation until after a number of years of deficiency, and since much of this fat-soluble hormone will be initially "lost" in body fat, it is wise to use the full two-ounce monthly dose for three months or so to overcome the deficiency state. After this, dosage can usually be reduced.

    The cream can be applied to the palms of the hands, the face and neck, the upper chest and breast, the inside of the arms, and behind the knees. Rotating among the various sites will maximize absorption. The size of the "gob" to use will become apparent as one proceeds through each monthly cycle.

    Premenopausal women can use progesterone approximately two weeks per month. Since normal progesterone production can reach 20 milligrams per day between days 15 to 26 of the cycle (day one being the onset of bleeding), I usually begin by recommending the cream be used between day 12 and day 26 to am proximate normal levels. Some women whose cycles are naturally longer will use it from day 10 to day 28.

    Some doctors will prescribe estrogen for premenopausal women with irregular bleeding. However, there is no reason to give estrogen of any sort to a woman who is still having menstrual bleeding. The fact of menstrual bleeding means there is no estrogen deficiency. Menstrual periods may be irregular due to progesterone deficiency. If you have been put on estrogen for

    irregular periods, taper down the estrogen and start using progesterone cream as described above.
    If bleeding starts before day 26 (or before it would normally begin), stop the progesterone and start counting up to day 12 again, and then start the progesterone again. It may take three cycles before you achieve synchrony with your normal cycle.

    Menopausal women not receiving estrogen supplementation have an even wider latitude in using progesterone cream. For convenience, they may choose to select a dosage schedule based on the calendar month. The cream may be applied over a 14- to 21-day time period and then discontinued until the next month.

    Menopausal women taking a cyclic estrogen supplement should reduce their dosage to one-half when starting the progesterone. Since progesterone replacement in women deficient in progesterone may initially (and temporarily) increase the sensitivity of estrogen receptors, it's important to reduce the dosage by one-half immediately. If you do not, you are likely to experience symptoms of estrogen dominance during the first one to two months of progesterone use.

    An abrupt reduction in estrogen can trigger resumption of hot flashes or vaginal dryness. These symptoms can be prevented by gradual lowering of the dose. There are several ways to reduce your dose of estrogen. I usually recommend reducing the dose by one-half when starting the progesterone. Then every two to three months you can try lowering the dose by half again. If the estrogen pill can be broken in half, the process is simple. If the estrogen pill is not easily broken in half (such as Premarin), you can take one every other day, every third day, and so forth.
    Estrogen and progesterone can be used together during a three-week or 24- to 25-day time period each month, leaving five to seven days each month without either hormone. The estrogen dose should be low enough that monthly bleeding does not occur but high enough to prevent vaginal dryness or hot flashes.

    As I discussed above, hot flashes are not a sign of estrogen deficiency per Se. They are a sign of lack of estrogen and/or progesterone response to the urgings of hypothalamic centers (the GnRH prompt). Often when progesterone levels are raised, the pituitary stops trying to signal the ovaries to ovulate, the hypothalamus settles down, and the hot flashes usually subside.
    (Note: If your physician wants to test the validity of this mechanism, the FSH and LH levels before and after adequate progesterone supplementation can be measured. A decline in FSH and LH indicates that the GnRH prompt has subsided.)

    I recommend you have a goal of getting off estrogen altogether. You can experiment with lowering the estrogen dose until you find the lowest dose that prevents vaginal dryness (my preference is a vaginal cream of estriol) and/or hot flashes. Since post-menopausal women continue to make estrogen (primarily in their body fat), many women find that estrogen supplementation can be eliminated altogether five to six months after starting the progesterone. The presence of progesterone makes estrogen receptors more sensitive, so that your own (endogenous) estrogen is sufficient. In this process of lowering your estrogen dose, you may have to ask your doctor to prescribe smaller doses of pills or capsules, since some are difficult or impossible to break into halves or quarters.

    If you are using Estraderm patches, you should be aware they come in two dosages. Generally, both dosages are too high; my patients experienced breast fullness and tenderness and water retention even when using the lower-dose patch. Physicians familiar with alternative health care approaches have access to corn-pounding pharmacies which can make a natural estrogen cream, which is another approach.

    Menopausal women taking an estrogen and progestin combination should stop the progestin immediately when progesterone cream is added. For example, if you are taking Premarin and

    Provera, the most common combination, you should stop taking the Provera. I have found no ill effects in stopping Provera abruptly.

    Again, the estrogen should be tapered slowly. There are now some estrogen/progestins combined in one pill, but I don't recommend these as it's important to go off the progestin when you start using progesterone cream.

    [This Message was Edited on 06/02/2003]
    [This Message was Edited on 06/02/2003]
  11. klutzo

    klutzo New Member

    I am not sure where the progesterone drops come from, and I don't care! I feel SO much better, I would not care how risky this was. I am one of those people who would rather have 5 quality years of life, than 25 sickly ones. Just a personal choice. :) Klutzo
  12. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I've been decreasing the estrogen over time as it is. The docs on TV have been saying that using the HRT during perimenopause and tapering off after menopause is the way to go. Seems these problems with HRT increase after the age of 60-65.

    I have found that by using the Hgh stimulant, I need less of the HRT, so I am going to increase use of the stimulant as I decrease the HRT.

    Love, Mikie