Anti-miscarriage drug DES causes multi-generational health problems

Up to 10 million are estimated to have been exposed

DES (or diethylstilbestrol), an anti-miscarriage drug widely used between 1940 and 1970, has been linked to health problems—including breast cancer, infertility, difficult pregnancies and early menopause—in the daughters and the granddaughters of women who used it. Sons of DES mothers also have been found more likely to develop testicular cysts and other problems. A form of artificial estrogen prescribed to pregnant women between 1938 and 1971 with mid-pregnancy complications or previous miscarriages, DES was discontinued when it was found daughters of women who used it were developing a rare vaginal cancer. It’s estimated between four and 10 million people were exposed. The drug’s cumulative harm will be documented in The New England Journal of Medicine this week.


American Cancer Society

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