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MagazineJuly 1995 (Vol. 6 Issue 4)Premarin

Premarin is one of the range of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) drugs

Premarin is one of the range of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) drugs. As such, it is given three pages of closely-typed text in the American drugs bible, the Physicians' Desk Reference 1995, which warn of some of the possible side effects. Since t

Despite these warnings, Premarin is the 23rd best selling drug in the UK, prescribed mainly to menopausal women. The fact it is made with the urine of pregnant mares clearly did not put off too many.

Manufactured by Wyeth-Ayerst, it is marketed as an anti-osteoporosis drug, and is available as a vaginal cream and in tablets.

The direst warnings concern increased risks of developing endometrial cancer with this estrogen-only preparation, which has been shown in three independent studies. The risk can increase by nearly 14 times if the drug is taken for more than one year.

Women who are pregnant should not take the drug as limb deformities in the baby may result.

Other side effects might include cancer of the breast, the cervix, vagina and liver (as shown in animal tests), gallbladder disease, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, bleeding, nausea, headaches and weight gain, to name but a few.

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