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Hormone, Prempro, Premarin News Updates
UN Classifies Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) as “Carcinogenic"

Hormones May Not Alleviate Menopause Symptoms

Woman sues companies over cancer

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Some women who reach their middle age enter a stage of life called menopause. Over the last 60 years, millions of women have received menopausal hormone therapy to relieve symptoms of menopause which are sometimes felt as “hot flashes.” Through the 1970’s, menopausal women received estrogen to combat those symptoms. Premarin, manufactured by Wyeth Laboratories from pregnant mare's urine, was the nation’s leading menopausal drug. But in the 1970’s, doctors learned that Premarin caused endometrial cancer. Predictably, sales of Premarin plummeted, as woman appropriately stayed away.

Only a few years later, however, Wyeth learned that if women combined estrogen with another hormone called progestin, the endometrial cancer problem would disappear. So, to revive its failing drug, Wyeth told woman and their doctors that if they took the combination of Premarin and a progestin, they would not develop endometrial cancer. Moreover, Wyeth told the public, this “combination hormone therapy” (estrogen and a progestin), would also provide added protection to their heart, their bones, that it would help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and increase their sexual vitality. In the mid-1990s, Wyeth turned the combination of Premarin and a progestin into a single pill, called “Prempro,” and promoted it to women as the Fountain of Youth. Wyeth, however, had no data to back these claims up.

In July 2002, a federal study revealed that long-term use of Prempro leads to increased risk of breast cancer, heart disease and strokes. This study, called the Woman’s Health Initiative (WHI), showed doctors that virtually everything that the pharmaceutical companies had been telling them about the benefits and risks of Prempro was wrong! The WHI study concluded that the RISKS of Prempro outweighed its benefits, and urged woman on the study to stop taking Prempro immediately.

Wyeth scurried to change its warning label, but for thousands of woman, it was too late – they had tragically developed breast cancer, and their lives forever changed. A breast cancer epidemic had been created.

The drug companies had created a “conventional wisdom” that pushed physicians to prescribe hormone therapy to women who did not need it, where safer alternatives existed.  The WHI brought to light Wyeth’s failure to test its products and warn woman and physicians about the true risks.

Women are now asking Wyeth the tough questions:

• After Wyeth knew that Premarin caused endometrial cancer, why didn’t it test its new drug, Prempro, to make sure it was safe?

• Why did Wyeth tell women that Prempro was safe to use for the long-term when it had no tests to prove that it was safe for long-term use?

• Why did Wyeth tell women that Prempro was good for their hearts, bones, and brain, when it had no good data to back up those claims?

• Why did women have to wait for a federal study to find out what Wyeth was responsible for knowing decades ago?

• What responsibility is Wyeth willing to take for the cancer epidemic it created?

Over the past few years, the lawyers at Janet, Jenner & Suggs, LLC have been investigating these questions for women nationwide. Our nationally recognized firm includes a board-certified obstetric/gynecologist M.D., nurse/attorneys (R.N./J.D.'s), and nurse/paralegals. In addition to our medical expertise, we have received the highest rating for
ethical conduct and professional excellence offered by Martindale-Hubbell® ("AV"). We are recognized in the Best Lawyers in America, and have been long-recognized as leaders in our profession, and in the effort to bring the pushers of hormone therapy to justice.

If you are interested in learning more about hormone therapy and breast cancer, click here.

Please feel free to contact us if you have questions or concerns.

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