December 4, 2010
Byron J. Richards, CCN
The medical profession continues to kill and injure women with horse urine estrogen replacement therapy (ERT). Advice to use lower-dose estrogen or even bio-identical estrogen is generally ignored and the prescription of choice remains the cancer and heart disease causing horse urine estrogen. It is unlikely that health care costs in this country will ever get under control until doctors are actually held accountable when they kill and injure people with drugs - especially when they continue to prescribe a deadly drug knowing that it causes harm.
The latest study by Stanford researchers analyzed data from 2001-2009. Following the negative results of the horse urine estrogen trial known as the Women's Health Initiative study of 2002, annual prescriptions have dropped from 16.3 million per year down to 6.1 million per year. However, the majority of those are for horse urine estrogen in doses known to cause cancer and heart disease. This is still 1 billion dollars in sales of a drug known to injure and kill.
In order to understand the severity of this problem a bit of history is in order. There were only a few thousand women taking estrogen back in 1966. That number changed dramatically with the release of the book Feminine Forever, by Dr. Robert A Wilson, a New York gynecologist. In the book Dr. Wilson attributed all undesirable aspects of aging to a lack of estrogen - while downplaying and trying to explain away the troubling link to cancer.
Dr. Wilson quit his practice and set up a foundation to promote his ideas. He and his wife went around the country giving seminars and his book received wide media coverage in major magazines. The book became one of the first off label marketing pieces, freely given out to doctors as a promotional tool.
What was not known at the time was that the drug company that is now Wyeth (Ayerst Laboratories) was funding the foundation.
Throughout the 1990s I was an outspoken critic of ERT - a minority view that was based on basic science the medical profession couldn't seem to grasp.
It was well established that increasing a woman's exposure to her own estrogen, such as starting menstruation before age 12, increased the risk of breast cancer. Anything that produces higher serum levels of estrogen places a woman into this risk. It was basic common sense that extending a woman's exposure to estrogen through ERT was going to place her into a similar risk pattern due to extended estrogen exposure.
Female cancer risk, especially breast cancer risk associated with estrogen replacement therapy had been reported for many years, and was extensively reviewed back in 1999. This data did not deter a majority of doctors from prescribing and pushing ERT on women with menopausal symptoms.
Even worse, the typical dose of estradiol at that time was .625 mgs taken every day (today it is .3 mgs). In normal menstruation a woman is exposed to .4 mgs of estradiol for a few days every month around her ovulation. Thus, this Wyeth-promoted prescribing practice exposed women to much higher levels of estrogen than she ever made naturally. Furthermore, the Wyeth product also contains all sorts of horse estrones that are totally unnatural for a woman.
Prior to 2002 it was standard medical procedure to browbeat women to tears if they didn't want to go on this horse urine estrogen. A major setback for ERT marketing occurred in July of 2002. Data coming from the Women's Health Initiative showed that a combination of estrogen from horse urine and non-bioidentical progesterone increased the risk of invasive breast cancer by 26%, strokes by 41%, heart attacks by 29%, blot clots by 100%, and total cardiovascular disease by 22%. Based on the 16 million women taking these drugs in 2002, the data suggests that during only one year there were an extra 12,700 cases of invasive breast cancer, 11,100 heart attacks, 12,700 strokes, and 28,700 blood clots - including 12,700 life-threatening blood clots in the lungs.
Adverse data on Wyeth's ERT drugs continues to pile up, with a recent study showing that ERT nearly doubles the risk for lung cancer.
Another common problem with ERT (and birth control pills for that matter) is weight gain, which doesn't always happen to everyone but happens so often that it is a major concern. Doctors used to tell women that ERT was good for their heart even while they were gaining 15 pounds - it just didn't add up - credibility was woefully lacking. Weight gain, especially after menopause, is also linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
A 2009 study showed that women currently on ERT have a 38% increased risk for ovarian cancer. Women who have previously used estrogen replacement have a 16% risk, a risk that diminishes as the length of time since the last use of estrogen increases. The study was published in JAMA and involved over 900,000 Danish women ages 50-79. Since ovarian cancer is often fatal these findings are not trivial. Women taking bioidentical estrogen (estradiol) in amounts beyond what their body ever makes normally should also be concerned, as the study showed that any form of estradiol was a problem.
The medical use of ERT, as pushed by various drug companies, condoned by the FDA, and adamantly pushed on many women by doctors, is a clear violation of the most basic creed of a physician to first do no harm. It is an example of a lack of intelligence and inability to predict the obvious consequence of known principles of biochemistry relating to the drugs they prescribe, a problem that continues to plague their Big Pharma-sponsored profession to the detriment of the health of millions of American women.
The decades-long reckless and continued use of horse urine estrogen by the medical profession is a sad commentary on a profession that struggles helping women with their health without the use of some drug. It is too bad that so much damage and death has occurred at their hands. When will women begin to see that the current practice of medicine, especially when it comes to the use of drugs for prevention, symptom suppression, or number management, is little more than a costly game of Russian roulette.