Premarin is the brand name of a hormone replacement therapy (abbreviated as HRT), sometimes sold as Prempro (the conjugated form of the drug), and produced and marketed by the company once known as Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. However, Premarin has since come under intense scrutiny regarding possible health hazards.
Premarin was first released in 1942, and is a drug made from the estrogen collected from the urine of pregnant horses. In fact, Premarin is short for “PREgnant MAres’ uRINe.” The drug is available in several different forms. First, there are the oral pills, which are produced in 5 different doses (0.3, 0.45, 0.625, 0.9, 1.25 milligram doses). Then there are the liquid IV’s, which are primarily used for the short-term treatment of internal uterine bleeding. And, finally, there is the estrogen cream , sold under the name Estrace, prescribed to women with vaginal dryness or pain during sex that results from menopause.
Estrogen treatments like Premarin are commonly prescribed to women who have had hysterectomies or who have experienced ovarian failure, as they tend to develop some or all of the symptoms of menopause, including:
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness
- Vaginal burning
- Vaginal irritation
One of the lesser-known uses of the treatment, of which Premarin is only one form, is the treatment of cancer in both men and women. But using the drug in this manner is far less common, and has dropped in popularity. The drop in visibility and use is partially due to recent studies and more than one Prempro lawsuit showing that Premarin side effects may include painful, life-threatening cancers.
In October of 2007, a Prempro lawyer successfully sued Wyeth in a Nevada court on behalf of three women. These three women all developed HRT cancer of the breast. None of the plaintiffs had breast cancer before they began taking the drugs. A fourth woman was included in the lawsuit. However, she opted to settle her suit out of court before passing away at the age of 59.
It should be noted that, according to many clinicians, there is a positive link between estrogen and breast cancer , and that the particular brand name could be irrelevant to the larger health issues. The victims and lawsuits do not claim that Wyeth distributed a product that causes problems any more dangerous than other common HRT side effects . However, the lawsuits and studies assert that Wyeth distributed products like Premarin that they knew to be dangerous.
Although cancer is a very serious concern for anyone on HRT, most patients undergoing this common medical treatment will not have to experience this debilitating and life-threatening complication. But there are a number of less serious Prempro side effects , including, but not limited to, the following maladies and ailments associated with excess estrogen:
- Heart attack
- Mild vaginal bleeding or spotting
- Breast pain because of enlargement
- Vaginitis because of yeast or other bacteria
- Frequent and painful leg cramps
- More painful menstruation in women who have not had hysterectomies
For those women who are experiencing troubling side effects, estrogen hormone treatment could potentially be to blame. The above symptoms are common for patients taking the oral or IV forms of the drug. Women utilizing the vaginal cream may also experience some of the following Estrace side effects :
- Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)
- Loss of hair
- Stomach cramps
- Fluid retention
- High blood pressure
If you are taking Premarin, or any other estrogen hormone therapy, and are not feeling well, do not hesitate to contact your doctor. Your discomfort could be a sign of some very serious developing issues. If your doctor, physician, or other health care professional diagnoses you with any of the adverse effects listed above, including cancer, find qualified legal help as soon as you can. Only an experienced attorney can determine your rights under the law, and help you recover any recompense you may be owed.