Clinical toxicology of estrogens

DES linked to feminization in boys and precocious puberty in girls

1980 Abstract

This paper reviews both minor and major adverse reactions caused by estrogenic substances (natural and synthetic, steroidal and nonsteroidal) of which diethylstilbestrol is the prototype of nonsteroidal synthetic estrogen.

Minor side effects include nausea, breast tenderness, and excessive cervical secretions (most common), headache, and water and salt retention (less common and often eradicated by lowering estrogen dosage). Vertigo, yeast infections, depression, and photosensitivity are other minor effects.

Major effects include those on the endocrine system (e.g., feminization in boys and men and precocious puberty in girls); breast tumors; endometrial carcinoma; ovarian tumors; hypertension; thromboembolism; blood clotting excesses; various metabolic effects (including lipid metabolism and carbohydrate metabolism alterations); liver changes (bile alterations and neoplasms); porphyria; melanoma; and effects on a fetus in situ during maternal estrogen administration. In general, lowering doses of estrogen should help eradicate or alleviate most of these effects.



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