Synthetic Hormone Ship
Shirley is 52, and suffering from menopausal
symptoms of hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia and mood disturbance. The first
chance she had, Shirley asked her doctor for bioidentical hormones. Instead, her doctor offered a
prescription for Lexapro™, an SSRI antidepressant. Shirley declined the
prescription and ran out the door crying all the way home. A few days later,
Shirley was sitting in my office asking, "Why won't my doctor give me what I want, bioidentical hormones?"
Caption : Abandon
Ship, Sinking Ship: Bow section of tanker SS Pendleton grounded near Pollock
Rib lightship six miles off Chatham, Mass on the morning of Feb. 19,
1952." Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Ghost Writing – A Shocking Medical Scandal
I explained to Shirley that her doctor’s opinion is shaped by misleading
information in medical journals corrupted by a technique called medical
ghostwriting, a shocking scandal uncovered by Senator Grassley’s
Committee.(1) In this sinister practice, the prestigious name of an
academic MD “opinion leader” appears as author. However, unknown to the
reader, the article is actually written by the drug company’s paid-for-hire
writers. Grassley discovered that sixty articles on women’s hormones were
ghostwritten, downplaying the adverse effects of synthetic hormones, and
casting doubts about bioidentical hormones. Medical ghostwriting is
scientific misconduct and fraud which harms society and corrupts the medical
A Brief History of Synthetic Hormones – Re-Living the Nightmare
The following is a short history of synthetic hormone replacement as brought to
you by the Drug Industry. (2) Many people have forgotten about the
disaster of DES, Diethylstilbestrol, the first synthetic hormone invented in
1938. This carcinogenic, monster hormone was approved by the FDA and
given to millions of women from 1940 until it was banned in 1975 when it
was shown carcinogenic, causing cervical cancer. The first
reports of cervical cancer in the daughters of DES treated women were published
in April 1971 in the New England Journal of Medicine.(3-4)
Next, the Drug Industry invented Premarin, a horse estrogen isolated from the
urine of pregnant horses. Available since FDA approval in 1942,
Premarin has caused an estimated 15,000 cases of endometrial cancer,
representing the largest epidemic of serious iatrogenic disease ever
reported.(5-8) One might think this would be the end of any
drug. However Premarin was promptly rehabilitated with the addition
of another synthetic hormone, a progestin, to prevent endometrial cancer.
Thus, in 1995, Prempro was born, a synthetic hormone pill containing both
Premarin (the horse estrogen) and Provera (the progestin). Again, this
was FDA approved, thought safe and handed out freely to millions of women.
However, storm clouds soon appeared on the horizon when four large scale
studies showed increased breast cancer and heart disease from this
estrogen-progestin combination pill. The Breast Cancer Detection
Demonstration Project, published in 2000, showed an eight fold increase in
breast cancer for estrogen-progestin users.(9) The Swedish Record Review,
published in 1996, had a fourfold increase in breast cancer with progestin
use.(10) The Million Woman study, published in Lancet in 2003, had a
fourfold increase in breast cancer for estrogen-progestin combination users
compared to estrogen alone users.(11) The brakes came on to this
synthetic hormone experiment in 2002 with the JAMA publication of the Women’s
Health Initiative (WHI), an NIH funded study terminated early because of
increased breast cancer and heart disease in the estrogen-progestin users.(12)
Abandoning the Synthetic Hormone Ship
Two important things happened after this 2002 WHI study was published.
Smart women abandoned synthetic hormones and switched in large number to
bioidentical hormones, producing an immediate decline in breast cancer rates of
about nine per cent.(13,14) A second important thing happened.
Apparently, women have decided to turn to lawyers to protect them, since the
FDA has been unable to do so. Thirteen thousand women have filed cases in
court claiming synthetic hormones caused their breast cancer. These cases
are slowly working their way through the court system, and the jury is still
out, so stay tuned.(15)
Dispelling the Myths and Misconceptions
Over the years, I have compiled a list of myths and misinformation commonly
encountered about bioidentical hormones in newspapers and magazines. Here
are a few of them, followed by the corrections. The misinformation is in
italics, with the correct information to follow.
Myth Number One: "The term bioidentical hormone is undefined and
has no meaning."
This is incorrect. Bioidentical is a term which is defined as having the
exact same chemical structure as hormones found naturally in the human
body. Bioidentical Hormones are the ones circulating in your blood
stream right now.
Myth Number Two: "There is no proof that Bioidentical Hormones
are safer and more effective than synthetic hormones...All of the evidence that
we have suggests that all of these hormones should be painted with the same
This is incorrect and misleading. As we have seen in the above short
history of synthetic hormones, there exists a large body of science showing
that synthetic chemically altered hormones cause cancer and heart
disease.(9-14) On the other hand, medical studies have found bioidentical
hormones are safe with no increase in breast cancer or heart disease compared
to non-hormone users. (33-41) An excellent review of this medical science
can be found in a 2009 article by Kent Holtorf MD in Postgraduate Medicine.
Myth Number Three: "Bioidentical Hormones are not FDA
This is blatantly incorrect. There are twenty or so FDA approved
bioidentical hormone preparations widely available at corner drug stores. Here
are a few examples: Vivelle-Dot™, Estrace™, Climara™, Prometrium™,
Androgel™ , etc.
Myth Number Four: "Bioidentical Hormones made by compounding
pharmacies are Non-FDA approved."
This is not only incorrect, it is misleading and deceptive. Compounding
pharmacies are regulated at the state level, and do not fall under FDA
jurisdiction. So, of course compounding is not FDA approved.
No FDA approval is required or even desired. Your local hospital pharmacy
is a compounding pharmacy that makes up life saving medication such as IV
antibiotics with no FDA oversight or “approval”. The FDA approval process
is designed for manufactured capsules and tablets, and is impractical and
unnecessary for compounded medications prepared to order by hand.
Are we going to reject IV antibiotics from the hospital pharmacy because these
are non-FDA approved compounded medication? Of course not.
Compounding is here to stay.
Myth Number Five: "Unless a woman has symptoms of hot flashes and
night sweats, she doesn’t need hormones."
This is incorrect. In addition to night sweats and hot flashes, there
are many other valid symptoms of hormone deficiency such as insomnia, cognitive
dysfunction, menopausal arthritis, evaporative dry eye, anxiety, panic, mood
disorder, vaginal dryness, and decreased libido and post hysterectomy.
These are all good indications for prescribing bioidentical hormones. (17-25)
Myth Number Six: "The idea that Menopause is a Hormone
Deficiency Disease was disproven, and the idea that hormone replacement
rejuvenates youth, or prevents degenerative diseases is also
disproven….Hormones decline with age, and is normal and does not require
This is incorrect. There is no question that hormonal decline is a health risk.
Three separate studies have shown low testosterone in males carries a 40%
increase in mortality.(26-28) Studies in females show the same findings,
with low hormone levels in women after hysterectomy associated with increased
mortality. (29-30) Hormonal decline is a direct cause of degenerative
diseases of aging, all of which may be prevented or partially reversed by
replenishing hormone levels, a vastly more effective treatment which competes
directly with the Drug Industry.(42-46)
Myth Number Seven: "Hot flashes and sweats in menopausal women
can be treated with SSRI antidepressants. They don’t need to use
This is not only wrong, it is criminal. The use of SSRI antidepressants for
menopausal symptoms is NOT FDA approved, and is a cruel mistreatment and
medical victimization of women. This practice should be halted
immediately. Studies of SSRI drugs show they are no better than placebo
for most cases of depression(31), and they are not much better than placebo for
menopausal hot flashes. (32) Synthetic hormones are bad enough, they
cause cancer and heart disease. SSRI drugs like Lexepro™, Effexor™
and Pristiq™ are even worse; they are chemically addictive with horrendous
withdrawal effects. Avoid becoming a medical victim. Stay away.
It is time to awaken from the nightmare of synthetic hormones, known for
decades to cause cancer and heart disease. You can put lipstick on a pig,
and it is still a pig. The drug industry can spin, deceive, and
misleading the medical journals and media. Yet, after all the lies and
propaganda, synthetic hormones remain monsters that should be
avoided. Smart women have made the switch to safer and more
effective bioidentical hormones. The future of medicine is your choice to
make. It is recommended you work closely with a knowledgeable physician
before making any decisions regarding hormone treatment. Please feel free
to share this chapter with your doctor.
Articles with Related Interest:
The Safety of Bio-Identical Hormones
The Importance of BioIdentical Hormones
Bioidentical Hormones Prevent Arthritis
Bioidentical Hormone Estrogen Prevents Heart Disease
Morning Rounds With Steven Economou MD
Don’t Monkey With My Hormones
Waking Up from the Synthetic Hormone Nightmare
HRT Does Not Cause Breast Cancer
References for Chapter 8, Abandoning
the Synthetic Hormone Ship.
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Literature Minority Staff Report 111th Congress United States Senate Committee
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AUthor: Jeffrey Dach MD