Premarin® and PremPro®
Premarin and PremPro are medications widely prescribed as part of traditional female hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Despite the controversies following these drugs, Premarin is still the mostly widely prescribed drug in the U.S.
Premarin is an estrogen-only drug. The estrogen component is from of all things… horse urine! Derived from pregnant mares, the name “Premarin” actually comes from “Pre” for “pregnant”, “mar” for, you guessed it, “female horse,” and “in” for “urine.” Pre-mar-in. Clever. (Giddy-ap!)
Premarin: A Combination of “Estrogens”
Premarin actually contains several different estrogens – all synthetic or non-human:
The major compound is a “conjugated” form of estrone. The manufacturer takes a natural estrogen and adds on a sulfur chemical group. This is so they could patent it. (A natural substance cannot be patented, so a drug manufacturer has to alter a natural substance to get the patent approved.)
The next major “estrogen” in Premarin is pure horse estrogen called equilin.
The third is yet another horse estrogen called equilenin.
Other estrogens are also contained in Premarin, including DHES or dihydrone estrone sulfate, a known teratogen that causes birth defects in female children. (A teratogen is a substance disturbing or altering the normal development of an embryo or fetus. Thalidomide was also such a substance. )
PremPro is a combination drug that combines Premarin with Provera®, a synthetic progestin. The progestin component is called medroxy-progesterone and is, like the estrogens, a chemically altered hormone.
The final product of PremPro consists of a chemical cocktail of synthetic, chemically altered hormone drugs: Estrogens plus a progestin.
Medical News That Shocked The World
PremPro was used extensively for decades until 2002. That’s when the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) studies exploded upon the front page of every large newspaper in the world, describing the catastrophic consequences of using chemically altered hormones in post-menopausal women.
One of the main areas these WHI studies were based upon was a huge group of women taking PremPro. The conclusions were startling as they were disturbing: PremPro led to an increase in coronary heart disease, stroke, lung clots, breast cancer and even ovarian cancer.
Another study by M.D. Anderson Health Center. reported in a December 2006 medical conference (San Antonio Texas) that looked at new cancer diagnoses in the United States.
Specifically, the Anderson study examined incidents in 2003, the year following the initial WHI reports about PremPro.
A staggering 7% drop in new diagnoses of breast cancer in the U.S. was noted in 2003, compared with 2002 levels. One third of the decrease could have been related to a reduced number of mammographies.
But the other 66% appeared to be related to the widespread stopping of PremPro use.
PremPro is (unfortunately) still available today as a prescription, but its use has fallen drastically. Both Premarin and PremPro are also involved in significant litigation.
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