What Is Diethylstilbestrol Used For?

Reviewed on 7/7/2021

What Is Diethylstilbestrol?

A synthetic form of the female hormone estrogen, Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is used to treat prostate cancer in men or manage symptoms caused by prostate cancer treatment. Side effects include blood clots, breast tissue enlargement (gynecomastia), nausea, vomiting, rash, and weakness.
A synthetic form of the female hormone estrogen, Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is used to treat prostate cancer in men or manage symptoms caused by prostate cancer treatment. Side effects include blood clots, breast tissue enlargement (gynecomastia), nausea, vomiting, rash, and weakness.

Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is a synthetic form of the female hormone estrogen originally developed to supplement a woman's natural estrogen production. 

What Is Diethylstilbestrol Used For?

Today, diethylstilbestrol (DES) is used in men to treat prostate cancer and for palliative care to manage symptoms caused by prostate cancer treatment. 

It is also used in veterinary medicine to treat urinary incontinence in female dogs

In the past, diethylstilbestrol (DES) was prescribed between 1940 and 1971 for women who experienced miscarriages, premature labor, and other pregnancy complications.

In the U.S., an estimated 5-10 million people were exposed to DES in this time period, including pregnant women who were prescribed DES and their offspring. At the time, it was considered safe and effective for both the pregnant woman and the developing baby.

Use of diethylstilbestrol (DES) started to decline in the 1950s after studies showed it was not effective in treating problems related to pregnancy. In 1971, researchers linked prenatal exposure to diethylstilbestrol to a type of cancer of the cervix and vagina (clear cell adenocarcinoma) in the daughters of women who took DES (“DES daughters”). That same year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised physicians not to prescribe DES to pregnant women.

What Are Side Effects of Diethylstilbestrol?

Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is mainly used today in men to treat prostate cancer and for palliative care to manage symptoms caused by prostate cancer treatment. Side effects of diethylstilbestrol (DES) in men include: 

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Reviewed on 7/7/2021
References
https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/hormones/des-fact-sheet

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23110500/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22578092/

https://www.merckvetmanual.com/pharmacology/systemic-pharmacotherapeutics-of-the-urinary-system/urinary-incontinence

https://www.urotoday.com/images/stories/documents/bjui/bjui_110_11c_e826_e829.pdf