Jury declares Wyeth’s HRT drug caused woman’s breast cancer, awards $1.5 million in damages
Bioidentical Estriol Still Under Threat
October 26, 2010
Alliance for Natural Health USA
Nurses in Oregon may soon lose their ability to prescribe estriol, the safe and effective bioidentical estrogen hormone. Meanwhile, an FDA-approved menopause drug is killing women at twice the usual mortality rate.
A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that women who take the synthetic estrogen replacement product Prempro®—a combination of a potent estrogen derived from pregnant mares’ urine and a synthetic progestin—are twice as likely to die from breast cancer. (This confirms the research we reported to you in 2008.) This month’s Archives of Internal Medicine shows that women taking Prempro® or Premarin® are also 21% more likely to develop kidney stones over five years. A study published last year in The Lancet showed that Prempro® raises the number of lung cancer deaths. And the government-sponsored Women’s Health Initiative study was halted in July 2002 because long-term Prempro use was found to raise the risk of breast cancer, heart attack, and stroke.
Despite these manifold dangers, and despite the fact that the FDA has been unable to substantiate a single adverse event for estriol, the FDA is still working diligently behind the scenes to remove it from the market. This makes no sense to anyone other than those making a profit from the synthetic, dangerous alternatives to estriol—the same drug companies which have enjoyed large profits while keeping their competition (estriol) at bay.
The Oregon State Board of Nursing will meet on November 18 to finalize draft changes to the Nurse Practice Act, which as currently drafted will restrict nurses’ ability to prescribe non-FDA-approved drugs. This includes estriol and, we believe, is specifically designed to remove all access to estriol.
Keep in mind, as we often point out, that FDA approval costs an average of $1 billion, and nobody will pay that for non-patentable substances including estriol. So to keep repeating that only FDA-approved drugs are safe or effective is total nonsense.
Estriol is naturally occurring and is a part of every human body. This bioidentical estrogen is approved in Europe for treatment of menopause, and is the standard of care in most of the developed world. It is the weakest estrogen and generally accepted to be the safest estrogen treatment. But because it cannot be patented and it is not as profitable as synthetic alternatives, US drug companies have not taken it through the FDA’s drug approval process.
We are asking residents of Oregon to take action by emailing the Nursing Board and telling them to allow nurses to continue to prescribe estriol. We are also asking our members in other states to let us know if there are similar processes pending in any other states.
The attack on bioidentical hormone replacement therapy all started with a petition from the drug giant Wyeth (since bought by Pfizer) to ban estriol, a natural form of their synthetic drug, from the market. Ironically, when it filed the petition Wyeth was marketing its version of estriol in Europe as the “ideal therapy” for women. The FDA seemed to grant the petition, but then backpedaled in part because of the huge public outcry as we got the word out about this latest blatant example of crony capitalism. Efforts were made to shut down compounding pharmacy sales and to threaten doctors who prescribed estriol, then largely abandoned it in favor of a so-called public awareness campaign about the risks and benefits of hormone therapy for the treatment of menopausal symptoms and other conditions.
As we told you in August, an oral Multiple Sclerosis drug that contains estriol, Trimesta, is currently undergoing FDA trials. If Trimesta is approved, some of our concerns go away, because it would then be a component of an FDA-approved drug. But it could take years for Trimesta to make its way through the process, and approval is by no means certain.
October 19, 2010
The Daily Nightly, msnbc.com
Robert Bazell writes:Years ago I asked Dr. Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, one of the leading experts on hormone replacement and a professor of epidemiology at the University of California, San Diego, for her help in reporting on the issues surrounding hormone replacement therapy.
“I think it\’s been a very trying time for the practitioner,” she said. “I think we\’re at a very elementary stage of how to prescribe hormones.”
I pointed out that some patients wonder how, 60 years into the game, the science of the hormone estrogen can still be at an elementary stage.
“Yes. It is interesting. But I … do think we\’ve made a lot of progress.”
With a good deal of encouragement from drug companies, but little substantive evidence, millions of women came to see hormone replacement as a “cure” for the “disease” of aging. We now know that was fanciful.
There is no question that hormone replacement effectively treats hot flashes, mood swings and other symptoms of menopause. It also lessens the bone thinning of osteoporosis. But no one knows if it cuts the number of hip fractures, the biggest danger of osteoporosis. While doctors once thought hormone replacement reduced the risk of heart disease, the Women\’s Health Initiative (WHI), a placebo-controlled trial of 16,000 women–a sort of gold standard of medicine–found that it did not. Most importantly, in 2002 the WHI was halted because of the increased incidence of breast cancer in women taking the most common hormone replacement, estrogen and progestin, sold as PremPro. New results out today show that the cancer associated with that increased risk are more dangerous than many doctors had assumed.
The results show the importance of controlled clinical trials and the need to not rely on more casual observational studies before millions of people take a medication. There are countless questions about hormone replacement still to be answered
This is the new era of medicine where both patients and doctors know there is no right answer and today\’s answer might be different tomorrow. “I think both the doctor and the woman need to realize that every woman is different, Barrett-Connor said. “This isn\’t a cookie-cutter business.”
May 26, 2010
Tuesday’s Horse, A Weekly Publication of The Fund for Horses
Written by JANE ALLIN
A recent report by Agriculture Canada gives tenuous optimism for the stopping of suffering of the mares and foals at the mercy of the pregnant mare’s urine (PMU) industry. Giant drug manufacturer Wyeth, a division of Pfizer, has announced they intend to downsize the industry through the cancellation of PMU ranch contracts that will see their numbers dwindle from the current 64 to as few as 25.
During the halcyon days of Premarin’s® monopoly of the HRT market there were in excess of 40,000 brood mares emptying their hackneyed bladders of concentrated estrogens destined for incompatible tissues of menopausal women, some of whom would die as a consequence of deficient science and political greed. With the reduction in PMU operations, there will be a meager 2,000 mares expected to supply the needs of a multi-million dollar industry fraught with deceit, avarice and the abhorrent solicitation of the FDA by Big Pharma.
What is perplexing is the apparent decrease in the quantity of equine estrogens estimated to fulfill the perceptible demand for the Premarin® family of drugs and the novel combination osteoporosis/HRT drug Aprela® destined for release in 2012. According to the article, Wyeth is interested in maintaining smaller farming ventures that would limit the amount of estrogen produced to 10,000 grams per contract. Some basic math will further reveal the ambiguity of this intriguing equation.
If 25 farms each produce a total of 10,000 grams of conjugated equine estrogens (CEEs) this equates to a total harvest of 250,000 grams of CEE per annum. For the sake of simplicity, let’s assume that the average amount of CEE contained in a Premarin®-related product is 0.45 mg based on the mid-range of available dosages and presumably the most commonly prescribed measure since its introduction as a low-dose option in April 2003.
The total number of mg of CEEs produced per year under the new guidelines is given by:
|Total grams CEEs/year||= 250,000 grams CEEs/yr x 1,000 mg/gram|
|= 250,000,000 mg CEEs per year|
Hence, the total number of single dosages available per year, assuming each dose is comprised of 0.45 mg can be determined as follows:
|Total single dosages/year||= 250,000,000 mg CEE per yr / 0.45 mg|
|= 555,555,555 single doses /yr|
Since a typical HRT regimen is a single dose/tablet (tab) per day, the total number of prescriptions that will be available assuming the total number of farms are reduced to this level and limited to a 10,000 g contract, can be calculated as follows:
|Total # prescriptions/yr||= 555,555,555 tabs per yr / 365 tabs per yr [i.e. 1 tab/day]|
|= 1,522,070 prescriptions /yr|
Interesting that only about 1.5 million prescriptions can be filled if this is the case!
Recent data from 2008 (Source: IMS Health) shows that upwards of 15 million prescriptions were filled by physicians that year, not including those available online without a doctor’s signature. Is it possible or plausible that the demand for the Premarin® family of drugs has fallen a whopping 90% in a mere 2 years?
Moreover, their new drug, Aprela®, claiming to be the quintessential elixir for the prevention of age-onset osteoporosis and menopausal symptoms is still slated for release pending approval from the FDA. Aprela® contains the same amount of concentrated equine estrogens (CCEs) as Premarin® does.
What is even more interesting is the fact that an extended patent for the Premarin® family of hormone replacement therapies (US Patent 5,210,081) is due to expire on February 26, 2012.
Thus far, Pfizer/Wyeth has not filed any new applications for further extensions. The story behind the extended patent is an intriguing yet pretentiously motivated one based on a so-called “impurity” called delta 8,9-DHES.
Once a patent expires, other smaller companies are typically allowed to develop and market generic versions, predictably at a lower cost to the consumer. By the mid 1990’s the patent for Wyeth’s Premarin® had quietly remained in expiration for 25 years. Lured by the share of Wyeth’s blockbuster HRT drug and potentially substantial profits to be realized, a company called Duramed Pharmaceuticals applied to the FDA in 1997 for the approval of a generic soy-based, animal-free version of Premarin® called Cenestin. Prior to this event, the only proviso that generics were forced to comply with for approval was “identical active ingredients”. Cenestin met all of these requirements.
What ensued was a massive political movement by Wyeth fueled with financial coercion that forced the FDA to re-establish the criteria. Instead of simply “identical active ingredients” it now became necessary to show “total active bio-equivalency” meaning that all of the chemicals in Premarin® that were responsible for alleviating menopausal symptoms must be both present and identical. Wyeth argued that the component DHES was indeed integral to the drug’s effectiveness and was granted an extended patent albeit the efficacy of DHEA was never proven and was legally classified as an “impurity”. These tactics are appallingly typical of Big Pharma and their ominous power over the FDA.
When Wyeth’s patent expires in the foreseeable future an entirely new market for competitors will be unlocked. Is Pfizer/Wyeth frantically searching for yet another diabolical plan to prevent this from happening? Looking at recent trends in terms of reducing PMU farm contracts together with the movement away from carcinogenic hormone replacement therapies and the ever-present animal advocates stirring up controversy, I have my doubts.
But how will they reinstate all the profits that will vanish along with their multi-million dollar drug? Wyeth is the sole producer of CEE products for HRT and to my knowledge there are no other PMU farming locations globally unless they have clandestinely hidden their existence from view. Intriguingly, some time ago, Wyeth announced that it would end research on its signature area of HRT to focus instead on female related cancers.
As part of a re-structuring move initiated in 2008, Wyeth plans to concentrate its research on the discovery of new drugs for which successful treatments are yet unavailable (e.g. vaccines, cancer, metabolic disorders such as diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s etc.) Perhaps they saw the end was near.
Nonetheless, according to the report, Wyeth had intended to continue with late-stage testing on Aprela®. Then again that was in 2008; since this time they have encountered several roadblocks for FDA approval of Viviant®, the osteoporosis component of Aprela®. In any case there are many competitors fully capable of developing patentable drugs to combat the ravages of osteoporosis, some of which are currently available on the market.
In anticipation of 2012, assuming Pfizer/Wyeth has no intent to re-apply using an equally pathetic argument to extend the Premarin® patent, there will finally be some free enterprise (in theory) for other drug companies in addition to an appreciable decrease in the number of mares and foals who suffer at the hands of the PMU industry. Why use CEEs when other effective non-animal derived products are available.
The End of an Era for PMU Farming?
Just when a glimmer of hope for the mares and foals of the PMU industry emerges, disturbing news trickles in from a pro-horse slaughter source. An article from The Western Producer entitled ”Horse sense requires tough decisions” delivers an ominous message.
“At the same time, Wyeth has ramped up production of PMU facilities in China, Kazakistan and Poland, out of the scrutiny of North American values. The byproduct of meat foals has a lucrative market, while Wyeth can continue to make statements relating to supply and demand to justify price of HRT.” (http://new.producer.com/News/Article.aspx?aid=20988)
This clearly solves the deceptive ambiguity of the relationship between the reduction in Canadian PMU facilities and Wyeth’s sales projections for both Premarin® and Aprela®. Solid evidence of foul play and sadly now the “Writing is on the Stall”. Perhaps it was premature and unreasonable to imagine that Pfizer would give up such a lucrative business.
Now more than ever, as the industry slowly fades in North America, we see that it will not simply go away. And this in the face of the consensus within the scientific community that there is underlying apprehension that neither plant nor animal derived estrogen therapy is truly a safe option for the relief of menopausal symptoms. Both have potential to stimulate cell proliferation, a precursor to cancer, simply because they deliver estrogen to hormone-sensitive tissues.
Clearly, we must continue to crusade vigilantly against Pfizer/Wyeth and their despicable lack of empathy for both humans and animals alike.
|Jeffrey B. Kindler, CEO of Pfizer (L) and Bernard Poussot, CEO of Wyeth Mario Tama/Getty ImagesWhat impact will the Pfizer-Wyeth merger have on the horses abused and killed by the PMU industry? If it goes through, probably nothing, except horse advocates will have an even larger foe to take on.|
Feb 3, 2009
Tuesday’s Horse, A Weekly Publication of The Fund for Horses
By VIVIAN GRANT
In reading about the proposed merger — or buyout — of Wyeth by Pfizer, the horse advocate immediately wonders what impact it will have, if approved, on the PMU horse situation. The only thing that seems certain is that if this business deal goes through, it will make Pfizer, the world’s largest drug company, even larger.
Analysts are scratching their heads, and wondering why Pfizer are making the move. As far back as August, 2007, Fortune writer John Simons called a merger between Pfizer and Wyeth a “marriage of weakness,” adding “Pfizer needs blockbusters to overcome looming patent expirations and Wyeth has recently been failing to deliver.” —FiercePharma.com
Catherine Arnst reports on January 4, 2009:
Acquiring Wyeth might boost Pfizer’s fortunes in the short term, but it won’t solve the long-term problems that are roiling the major pharmaceutical makers. As many observers have noted, Pfizer and the rest of the drug industry suffer from a lack of promising new products to replace older ones going off patent. What is less widely understood is that Pfizer also will face an increasingly constrained marketing environment, even if it succeeds in bulking up with Wyeth.
The fact is, it’s getting a lot harder to market the products both companies have right now. Congress is widely expected to restrict direct-to-consumer advertising by drug companies this year, and much stricter limits were put in place last year on how the industry markets to doctors. Universities and hospitals also are toughening up existing constraints on how much money their researchers can accept from companies for promotional activities. — Business Week
Arnst tells us in a subsequent article, dated January 26, 2009:
[Pfizer CEO] Kindler told a news conference that the Wyeth merger is not about “a single product or cost-cutting,” as with past deals. Instead, “it’s about creating a broad, diversified portfolio.” — Business Week
None of the numerous articles we read for this report mentioned hormone replacement therapy drugs as high or even on the agenda for Pfizer’s takeover of Wyeth. Yet, Wyeth forecasts Aprela sales of $2 billion a year.
Let’s take a look anyway.
— Premarin, Prempro and Premhase.
Wyeth produces the Premarin family of drugs manufactured with CEE, or conjugated equine estrogen. Equine estrogen is derived from pregnant mare’s urine. There was a significant downturn in the sale of the Premarin drug group when the Women’s Health Initiative linked them to cancer, blood clots and cancer, among others. A rash of lawsuits followed. Premarin and Prempro are still widely prescribed, and obtainable on the internet without prescription. Physician’s notes for Premarin state that it also helps with osteoporosis that occurs during menopause.
— Enter Aprela.
Wyeth has a new drug in development also made with CEE called Aprela. Aprela is currently being scrutinized by the FDA for approval this Spring. Aprela will reportedly be marketed as an osteoporosis drug to women (and men) with the added attraction that it treats menopausal symptoms of women. — Pharmalot
— Enter Fablyn.
Pfizer has had a drug in development awaiting FDA approval called Fablyn. Fablyn is an osteoporosis drug that also treats the menopausal symptoms of women. Called Ostoria in previous go rounds for FDA approval, it is said to be in the same class as Eli Lilly’s osteoporosis drug Evista.
Jared A. Favole tell us in a report filed January 8, 2008:
A panel of medical experts on Monday said Pfizer Inc.’s (PFE) proposed osteoporosis drug has benefits for post-menopausal women, but suggested the drug be restricted to women at high-risk of fracture or those who fail other treatments.
Pfizer is seeking U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for the drug to treat osteoporosis, which generally leads to bone fractures, in post-menopausal women. Nine panel members said the benefits of Fablyn outweigh the risks, three said it didn’t and one member abstained.
It’s unclear whether the FDA will approve the drug, and if it will suggest restricting it to a certain population of women. The FDA will consider the panel’s advice in its decision.
The FDA has until sometime in October to make a decision. A rejection of Fablyn would be a setback for Pfizer as analysts estimate the drug could bring in peak sales of $1 billion. (emphasis added) — Dow Jones Newswires
The panel voted 9 to 3 to approve Fablyn. However, the FDA has still not given the drug the go ahead.
John Carroll reports on January 20, 2009:
Pfizer has run into a roadblock at the FDA in its long-running quest to gain an approval for its experimental osteoporosis drug Fablyn. The pharma giant says the FDA has asked for more information on the drug.
Fablyn has had a long and troubled history. It was rejected as a treatment for osteoporosis almost four years ago after the agency had determined that it could cause cancer in the lining of a woman’s uterus. And it was rejected again in 2006 for vaginal atrophy. — FierceBiotech.com
That sounds frighteningly familiar.
Will the Pfizer-Wyeth merger go through? The Greenlining Institute asked the Justice Department and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to block the $64.6 billion transaction unless the companies lower consumer drug prices — Bloomberg News
Will Fablyn or Aprela be approved?
Even if the answer to all those questions is no, thousands of foals will continue to lose their young lives, along with the mares when they can no longer become pregnant, so long as Premarin and Prempo are prescribed and sold. The approval by the FDA and sale of Aprela will simply add to the trail of blood, whatever pharma giant peddles it.
NEW HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY WITH A NEW NAME TO BE APPROVED BY THE FDA AFTER ONLY TWO YEARS OF TESTING!!! APRELA USES PREGNANT MARES URINE!!!
Oct 28, 2008
Tuesday’s Horse, A Weekly Publication of The Fund for Horses
Written by RACHEL STONE
Did y’ever see the musical Oklahoma? Remember the character Ali Hakim? It’s funny but whenever I read something about Wyeth, I think of him – a truly self-serving man who only did the right thing when lookin’ down the barrel of a gun.
I wonder what, if anything, would inspire Robert Essner to do the right thing. Bob Essner is the current CEO of Wyeth as well as the company’s President and Chairman of the Board. Bob earned over 24 million dollars for his little ol’ self in 2007, a bit less than his 2006 earnings of 32 million. Poor Bob. But I guess that’s the way it goes when you’re profiteering from sickness and suffering.
A large portion of Bob’s earnings come from Wyeth’s hormone replacement therapy (HRT) drugs – what Wyeth calls their Premarin® Family of drugs which include Premarin®, Premphase® and Prempro®. Most of you probably already know that Premarin® is short for pregnant mare’s urine. But just in case, yes siree, these drugs are made with conjugated equine estrogens (CEE) collected from the urine of pregnant horses. The circumstances the mares, foals and stallions face during their interface with the PMU farmers, and afterwards (their lives often end in slaughter for human consumption overseas) are questionable at best.
Premarin® has been around since 1942 and for decades, horse folks and animal rights activists shouted loudly about a variety of abuses the horses endured. The results were minimal. But in 2002, when a study undertaken by the Women’s Health Initiative disclosed that the use of Wyeth’s HRT drugs increased the risks of strokes, blood clots, heart attacks, heart disease and breast cancer in women, pee hit the fan. Sales plummeted 32% in 2003 and another 31% in 2004.
That was bad news for Bob but great news for horses. The reduction in sales led to a reduction in the number of mares required by Wyeth. In addition, Wyeth reworked its HRT drug formulae to enhance the safety of these drugs. The new formulae required less CEE and, as a result, reduced the number of mares under contract further. It was estimated that in 2002 there were between 40,000 and 50,000 mares peeing for Wyeth. Today, there are just 5,600.
But since 2005, sales have steadily gained. In 2007 alone, the Premarin® Family of drugs earned Wyeth $1,055,300,000. That’s a lot of money! Though still less then the $1.9 billion Wyeth earned in 2002. And with sales just over half of what they used to be, Bob’s gotta’ do something, right?
Y’ever heard of Aprela? Aprela, is a new drug under development at Wyeth that targets both menopause symptoms and osteoporosis. The drug is now in phase 3 clinical trials and expected to be submitted for FDA approval during the first half of 2009. Aprela’s success could be a real boon for Bob. According to International Marketing Services (IMS), the osteoporosis market is much larger than the menopause market – generating international sales of $8.9 billion in 2007. And guess what. Aprela contains the same CEE found in Wyeth’s Premarin® Family of drugs. Talk about smart marketing! Not only did Bob rename the drug, he’s mixed it with a new batch of ingredients, targeted a larger market and targeted a market that’s expected to increase as baby-boomers age!
How might this affect the horses? Well, if decreased sales reduced the need for horse pee, wouldn’t increased sales reverse that trend? As it stands, there are at least 5600 reasons why these drugs should no longer be made in my opinion. Will Wyeth once again “hire” tens of thousands of mares in order to collect their excrement? How many more unwanted horse babies will be born each year? How many more horse moms will have to stand in a 3 1/2’ X 8’ stall for a solid six months out of every year? Since I couldn’t get anyone from Wyeth on the phone or via email, the questions linger.
I haven’t experienced menopause yet so I can’t say from experience that Wyeth’s HRT drugs are or aren’t the be all and end all. But I do know there are plenty of tested, effective plant and synthetic alternatives on the market these days. And I do know women transitioned through menopause drug-free for millennia (and still do). And I know one more thing – I’m jist a girl who cain say no to Bob and his golden circle of cronies. Where’s Ado-Annie’s pa got to anyway?
© Tuesday’s Horse
The Effect the HRT drug Premarin has on women
Over nine million women take Premarin, or some form of Premarin every day. For over 50 years, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals has been marketing Premarin which was FDA approved in 1942. This “miracle drug” Premarin, produced by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, earns over $1 billion dollars every year, all at the expense of thousands of mares, foals and women.
The women’s health initiative (www.whi.org) conducted a 5 year government funded study on the effects HRT has on women and the findings were astounding. The HRT drug, Premarin, has been tested and proven to cause serious health problems in women. Blood clots, diabetes, ovarian cancer, dementia and alzheimers are only some of the problems women who have taken Premarin are facing today.
Our goal at Equine Voices Rescue & Sanctuary™ is to be a voice for the horses that need us, and also a voice for women who are faced with the difficult decision of whether to take Premarin or an equivalent HRT drug. I ask you to please take a serious look at the effects the Premarin industry has on women and look deeper into the issues surrounding the production of Premarin and comparable drugs. I hope you will take this information and consult with your doctor about cruelty free, plant based or synthetic alternatives to Premarin.
by Cheryl Hoard
I am frequently asked questions about alternatives to Hormone Replacement Therapy. The use of herbs, essential oils and hydrosols gives more options to adapt to changes during menopause. Herbalism is most effective when used in a holistic approach, which is integration of the body, mind and spirit. Changes during menopause happen not only to the body, but to the mind and spirit as well. Herbs and essential oils can have a positive impact on all these parts of a woman’s life. These same herbs are successfully used to ease discomforts of the female cycle, PMS, menarche and other times when hormonal balancing is desired.
It is unclear as to exactly how these herbs work to balance the hormones. Some books say that they contain estrogenic properties or activities. Other authors state that true female sex hormones are not found in higher plants, but some herbs apparently contain compounds that influence the production of hormones by the body. It is explained by some that certain herbs are considered precursors to estrogen or progesterone and the action of these herbs are just generally balancing on the endocrine system to help it normalize itself to the point of reduction of uncomfortable symptoms. Sometimes one herb influences more than one gland. For example it has been reported that Ginseng effects the pituitary, hypothalamus & adrenal glands. It so happens that this set of interacting glands has been recognized for centuries by the Chinese as a functional unit influencing stress, aging, sexual function & overall vitality.
This information is not intended to replace necessary care by a qualified physician. It is important to work with your doctor to achieve your health goals in the safest and most efficient manner. Past history or current appearance of cancer is extremely important when considering use of agents that effect levels of the female hormone, estrogen. Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it is safe in every situation.
Because the effort here involves cycles, time is needed to give all therapies a chance to become as fully effective as possible. The point being, this is not the same as treating a cold or flu in which you probably could evaluate the success of the remedy in a week or two. Sometime the time span of several cycles is needed before any conclusions are made.
Regarding questions about using these natural remedies alongside Hormone Replacement Therapy, I can only speak for myself to say that I would integrate the two therapies. I would only do this by working together with my physician to make sure proper levels were maintained. Proper levels of hormones is an individual issue and your doctor will be your best resource. If it were me I would hope to be able to use natural agents to the point of not needing conventional medical treatment. To achieve this goal I would imagine you would have to be tested periodically to know how your levels are changing or maintaining.
One of the most effective tools for maintaining comfort during menopause is diet. Nutritional needs vary greatly for each individual so I’m not going to attempt to make any broad or specific statements about diet. You will know first hand which foods contribute to your well-being and which foods cause you more discomfort. Professional dietary advice is easily available as well. For myself, I am more comfortable with other means besides synthetic hormones to maintain healthy bones. I would rather make enough effort with diet and exercise to avoid osteoporosis. I understand this could be considerable effort needed on my part but that is my choice.
The best advice I have ever seen is a book by Christiane Northrup called Women’s Bodies Women’s Wisdom New York: Bantam Books. 1998. Northrup covers nearly all women’s unique health problems with an all encompassing holistic health perspective. Very few books bring the inclusion of the whole person, (mind, body and soul) into each and every aspect of a condition’s various symptoms as Northrup does. Because she is a practicing MD drawing from her experiences and case histories, makes the profoundness of her findings so outstanding. This book has changed the lives of many. Should be required reading for men, women and doctors. She has recently published a new book specifically about menopause.
Menopause is a time of life highly respected in many cultures where women of this age are given roles or positions of honor and dignity. This is not always the case in our society but I think women need to remember that change can be made into opportunity. Menopause presents an opportunity to consider again your purpose in life which can lead to liberation and new fulfillment. Change can be good! Change can be positive! I firmly believe our thoughts and attitudes greatly influence our physical body so if women approach this time of life without fear of discomfort or fear of unhappiness they are more likely to breeze right through this time with minimal discomfort.
Examples of natural products I would use myself:
WILD YAM BLEND
Contains: Lavender and Geranium Essential Oils in extract of Wild Yam Root and Aloe Gel. Applied externally.
FOR HER EXTRACT COMBINATION CAPSULES
Contains: Dong Quai Root, Black Cohosh Root, Licorice Root, False Unicorn Root, Raspberry Leaf, Saw Palmetto Berry, Squaw Vine Herb, Sarsaparilla Root, Blessed Thistle Herb, Damiana Leaf
FOR HER LIQUID EXTRACT COMBINATION
Same as above but in liquid form.
EVENING PRIMROSE OIL CAPSULES
ROSE GERANIUM HYDROSOL
I know many ladies who like to spray this refreshing hydrosol on their skin to ease hot flashes. A gentle mist on the face, neck and arms can be refreshing and cooling in almost any situation. Contains: Rose Geranium Hydrosol Pelargonium graveolens
HERB BOTANICAL & SAFETY INFORMATION:
Black Cohosh Root Cimicifuga racemosa
Avoid when pregnant or nursing, limit use to 6 months.
Blessed Thistle Herb Cnicus benedictus
Avoid during pregnancy. High doses (more then 5.0 grams per cup of tea) may irritate the stomach and cause vomiting. Allergic reactions to this and other composites are possible.
Damiana Leaf Turnera aphrodisiaca
Safe to consume when used appropriately.
Dong Quai Root Angelica sinensis
Avoid during pregnancy.
False Unicorn Root Chamaelirium luteum
Avoid during pregnancy. Sparing use is recommended for individuals with history of digestive system sensitivity.
Licorice Root Glycyrrhiza glabra
Avoid during pregnancy, nursing, diabetes, hypertension, liver disorders, severe kidney insufficiency, and hypokalemia. Not for prolonged use (over 4 – 6 weeks) or in high doses except under supervision of a qualified health practitioner. May potentiate potassium depletion of thiazide diuretics and stimulant laxatives, as well as the action of cardiac glycosides and cortisol. May cause reversible potassium depletion and sodium retention, resulting in such symptoms as hypertension, edema, headache, and vertigo when consumed in therapeutic dosages over a prolonged period.
Raspberry Leaf Rubus idaeus
Safe to consume when used appropriately.
Sarsaparilla Root Smilax medica
Safe to consume when used appropriately. Some authorities warn it leads to gastric irritation and temporary kidney impairment and advise of potential drug interactions with hypnotics, digitalis glycosides, and bismuth.
Saw Palmetto Berry Serenoa repens
Safe to consume when used appropriately. Regular consultation with a physician is advised when using this herb for treatment of enlarged prostate.
Squaw Vine Herb Mitchella repens
Safe to consume when used appropriately.
Wild Yam Root Dioscorea villosa
Safe to consume when used appropriately. Large doses of the tincture can produce vomiting.
ESSENTIAL OIL BOTANICAL & SAFETY INFORMATION:
Lavender Lavandula angustifolia
Tested non-toxic at low levels.
Geranium Pelargonium roseum
Tested non-toxic at low levels. Avoid in early pregnancy.
Blumenthal, Mark., et al Ed. The Complete German Commission E Monographs. Austin: American Botanical Council. 1998.
Duke, James A. The Green Pharmacy. New York: St. Martin’s Paperbacks. 1998.
Gladstar, Rosemary. Herbal Healing for Women. New York: Fireside. 1993.
Hoffmann, David. The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal. Shaftsbury, Dorsett: Element Books. 1996.
McGuffin, Michael, et al Ed. American Herbal Products Association’s Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton: CRC Press. 1997.
Mowrey, Daniel B. Herbal Tonic Therapies. New Canaan: Keats Publishing Co. 1993.
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(NaturalNews) A Philadelphia jury yesterday awarded an Ohio woman $1 million and her husband $500,000 for damages suffered after Wyeth’s hormone replacement drug Prempro was found to be the cause of the woman’s breast cancer.
Jennie Nelson, 67, of Dayton, Ohio, took Prempro for about six years, and believed it to be the cause of her breast cancer, for which she underwent a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
The jury for the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas deliberated for 33 hours over six days to reach its verdict in favor of Nelson. The second phase of the trial — in which the jury must decide if Wyeth failed to warn of the dangers of Prempro — begins October 12.
Wyeth is currently facing roughly 5,000 lawsuits over its hormone replacement therapy (HRT) drugs. The jury in the first Prempro trial — which concluded last month in Little Rock, Ark. — found in favor of Wyeth, and said the company had not been negligent and had adequately warned patients and doctors of the cancer risk associated with the HRT drug.
The Philadelphia jury in Nelson\’s case could award additional punitive damages if it finds Wyeth was negligent in its warnings. However, if it finds that the company sufficiently warned patients, no damages will be paid by the company, including the damages awarded yesterday.
Nelson’s lawsuit — which charges that Wyeth was negligent in its testing, manufacture and marketing of its HRT drugs — will be watched closely by the lawyers of the 5,000 other plaintiffs, according to Seton Hall Law School professor Howard Erichson.
“Lawyers all around the country are watching what happens in these cases to get a sense of whether Prempro plaintiffs have a chance of winning,” Erichson said. He added that Nelson’s verdict “will be read by other plaintiffs’ lawyers as meaning they have a shot at a significant recovery.”
Wyeth maintains its innocence, and says that the Philadelphia jury’s verdict cannot be used to predict the results of future lawsuits. “We disagree that there is any scientific basis to support the jury’s finding of a causal link between hormone replacement therapy and the plaintiff’s breast cancer,” said Wyeth spokesman Chris Garland.