Three things we are doing for Premarin horses

Rescued Premarin foals. Photo: Vivian Grant Farrell.
Rescued Premarin foals. Photo: Vivian Grant Farrell.

Here are three things we are doing for PMU — or Premarin — horses right now:

1. Lobbying the FDA with the help of a specialist firm to return the word “equine” on all Premarin type drugs so it reads “conjugated equine estrogens” the way it did, and should*.

2. Working in China with a massive social media campaign warning women against the dangers of the Premarin family of drugs. This is where most of the horses are and where the largest volume of Premarin type drugs are being used. 

3. Leafleting across the U.S. at women’s hospitals and clinics warning women about the dangers of the Premarin family of drugs and educating them on alternatives (expanding into Canada with your help).

This work is informative and necessary, and potentially life saving for women and the mares and foals used to make the drug then cast off.


Make a donation now in support of this critical work.
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We are the only voices PMU horses have. When we remove the demand for these drugs we remove the demand for pregnant mare’s urine thereby freeing the horses.

Share this with the women in your life and anyone else who might be exposed to this drug.

Helpful Links

Alternatives to Premarin®.

Premstoppers campaign page at The Horse Fund website.

Donate to Premstoppers.

Thank you for your caring support of women and horses.


* A conjugated estrogen can be made from plants.

Turn your back on Premarin type drugs and seek alternatives for symptoms of menopause

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and as it draws to a close we urge women to please turn your backs on Premarin type drugs — tablets and cream — and seek another treatment for menopausal symptoms.

There are alternatives.

Work with your doctor to find something to help you other than drugs made from pregnant mare’s urine — for your sake as well as the innocent mares and their byproduct foals.

Crazily I have had doctors argue with me that the Premarin family of drugs are not made with conjugated equine estrogens derived from the urine of pregnant mare. The absence of the word “equine” on the packaging is proof enough for them.

Of course “equine” was removed some years ago. Yes, we heard about it and we know how and why. I assure them that the key component of the drugs taken from the estrogen rich urine of pregnant mares remains the same. End of discussion.

I share this with you in case you encounter this argument yourself whether it be with a physician trying to prescribe it to you or when trying to warn someone who is taking it.

THE ALTERNATIVES

Jane Allin put together a list of alternatives to drugs such as Premarin, Prempro, Duavee and Duavive (See also pdf version at the end of this post).

Duavee by the way is the name given to Aprela when it was approved by the FDA during the last federal government shutdown and is being peddled in Europe under the name Duavive.

We asked Jane to review her report on alternatives and give us any updates. This is what led to Jane’s recent post on Tuesday’s Horse regarding the helpful properties of rhubarb. See Breast cancer, menopause and yes, rhubarb.

This in turn launched me on a vegan rhubarb recipe hunt which you can find here. See No need to sweat menopause when you can chill with some rhubarb.

Other than that there are no notable changes.

Please keep reporting those Premarin television and magazine ads!

Thank you.

PDF
Alternatives to Drugs Made with Conjugated Equine Estrogens by Jane Allin (pdf, 7 pp)

FURTHER READING
Premstoppers Home »
Reports Regarding Premarin Horses »
Images of PMU Horses; Images from PMU Farm in China »

Spray what? Horse urine found in counterfeit perfume

glass raring horse perfume bottle

In February 2014 Fox News carried a report about the dangers of counterfeit perfume.

    Something smells rotten – and it may be your perfume or cologne.

    In a new report from CBS New York, doctors warned about the recent rise in counterfeit fragrances, which could be hazardous to your health. Health experts claimed that as many as 10 percent of all perfumes on the market are fake – and they often include toxic chemicals.

    “What is often in fake fragrances are ingredients like antifreeze, poorly based chemicals — and urine,” Valerie Salembier, president of the Authentics Foundation, told CBS New York. [1]

What Salembier did not mention about the urine – intentional or not – is that it is almost certainly horse urine. Yes. Horse urine.

The BBC comes right out with it.

    Tempted to buy a bottle of luxury brand perfume or aftershave at a bargain price from a street vendor?

    Think again – the smell might be similar to the one being sold in an established outlet, but the liquid providing the base is usually urine.

    “They use horse urine,” says David McKelvey, from counterfeit and piracy experts TM Eye. [2]

    The UK’s Daily Mail recently reported :

      Counterfeit make-up, meanwhile, can contain banned ingredients such as lead, copper, mercury, arsenic or cadmium, which can lead to swelling, rashes and poisoning. Test on fake perfumes, meanwhile, have found horse urine and harmful ingredients that can cause allergic and skin-burning reactions. [3]

    Why use horse or any other animal urine?

      Who knew urine contained something cosmetic companies would flip over? Urea, a chief waste product of our body as well as from animals, is used in antiperspirants, moisturizers, mouthwashes, deodorants, and shampoos. That’s right; you’re getting all beautified with the help of an organic compound in urine! Urea is used because it is known to absorb, attract and retain water, and contains vitamins A, D, E, and K. Not only does it work wonders on sweat and moisturizing, it is also a great anti-inflammatory as well as a sun protection. Thankfully, most companies now use synthetic urea instead of extracting it from a horse. [4]

    Notice it says “most companies”.

    The Black Sea website states:

      Criminal gangs using a route from China through Turkey to Romania are flooding the European market with fake branded perfumes – threatening the health of consumers and providing funds for gangsters. [5]

    A report in The Minyanville tell us:

      One man attempting to stem the tide of counterfeit goods flowing into the United States is James T. Hayes, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations office.

      “We hope to educate people about the safety risks involved,” he offers. “Even with something like perfume or cologne, these manufacturers could be using toxic chemicals, caustic chemicals, that you’re then putting on your skin.”

      When everything from knock-off Chanel bags to phony Viagra (PFE) available less than five minutes away from any physical point in the New York area, is stemming the tide of Chinese counterfeit goods anything less than an impossible task? [6]

    It does appear insurmountable. Fox News reports that counterfeit fragrances are on the rise.

    In the meantime, with pregnant mares being milked for their estrogen rich urine in China for the production of Pfizer’s Premarin family of drugs, i.e. Premarin vaginal cream and their latest drug Duavee, the Chinese have found another sales opportunity for horse urine. What other products are the Chinese putting horse urine in?

    At any rate, here we go again with Pfizer.

    Here are some questions to consider.

    1. Would horse urine for any purpose be extracted from horses in China – pregnant or otherwise – if pee farms to collect conjugated equine estrogens for the making of Premarin were not set up there?

    2. Or, because of the large quantities of horse urine required – say for example, the counterfeit perfume market, – did Pfizer simply seize an opportunity to acquire a key component for the making of its odious menopausal-osteoporosis drugs where the abuse and deaths of the horses used would be next to impossible to detect and expose.

    Jane Allin poses this.

      I wonder if the Chinese are using the urea extracted from horse pee after they have extracted the CEEs – using an extraction from the waste product of CEE manufacture – how clever.

    —-
    [1] See Fox News at http://goo.gl/I6I8nF
    [2] See http://www.bbc.com/news/business-16087793
    [3] See Daily Mail at http://goo.gl/sjOmsv
    [4] See http://www.toptenz.net/products-in-cosmetics.php
    [5] See theblacksea.eu at http://goo.gl/rXUbX8
    [6] See minyanville.com at http://goo.gl/r7Cg9F

    LEARN MORE
    Please visit our Premstoppers page to learn more about the horses used for Premarin, and take action. http://www.horsefund.org/premstoppers-home.php

    RELATED READING
    • “How to differentiate original and fake perfume”, PerfumeMania.Shop, http://goo.gl/rNPZ3j
    • “Is the Secret Behind Chanel No. 5’s Success… Cat Pee?, Toronto Standard, July 3, 2012. http://goo.gl/D9OFxr

Alternatives to drugs made with pregnant mare’s urine

March for Premarin Horses featured image.

BY JANE ALLIN

As part of of the The Horse Fund’s campaign against the manufacture and use of the Premarin family of drugs – Premarin, Prempro and Duavee – we have compiled a list of alternatives to drugs made with pregnant mare’s urine (conjugated equine estrogens).

We encourage you to go online to further acquaint yourself with the effectiveness and safety of these compounds. There is a wealth of information out there, but beware of false claims and err on the side of caution.

And, as always, please consult with your doctor before you use these or any other alternatives for the relief of menopausal symptoms.

LIFESTYLE CHANGES

Probably the simplest and most natural approach to the treatment of menopause is to adopt a healthy lifestyle in regard to diet, exercise and stress management. Not only will this help alleviate symptoms but the benefits will ensure that you remain healthy now and in the future.

Nutrition: It should go without saying, avoid refined and processed foods, choose more whole foods, fresh fruit, vegetables and complex carbohydrates. Avoid high fat dairy products and meats and supplement these items with healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts, seeds and lean cuts of meat or fish. Additionally, practice portion control and avoid empty calorie foods.

Exercise: Exercise is vital to keeping symptoms in check. Exercise directly affects hormonal activities in the body by raising the level of endorphins, for example, to maintain emotional stability and suppress anxiety. Moreover, the benefits are unsurpassed: maintenance of muscle and joint strength, increased metabolism, reduced weight, improved cardiovascular health, increased cognitive function, maintenance of bone integrity, and the list goes on.

Stress Management: It is a well known fact that stress induces more severe hot flashes. There are many stress-reduction techniques available to manage the burden of everyday anxiety – rest, relaxation, varied leisure activities, and most importantly self-affirming thoughts to maintain self-image and confidence.

Lifestyle Solutions: Common sense solutions that include dressing in layers, lowering room temperatures, consuming cool drinks, and avoiding alcohol and caffeine. For those women who are overweight, weight loss can also help.

DIETARY PHYTOESTROGENS

Dietary phytoestrogens are naturally occurring substances (e.g. Isoflavins) found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains such as soybeans, alfalfa sprouts, and oilseeds (such as flaxseed).

There is some evidence that they have a weak estrogen-like effect that may reduce the intensity and frequency of hot flashes. However an authoritative review of placebo-controlled studies of plant-based estrogens found no convincing evidence that they were helpful in curbing menopausal hot flushes.

One exception was genistein, a substance in soy, which the researchers said warranted further study (http://goo.gl/mivG1p).

Eating natural foods that contain these compounds is safe but there are also non-prescription supplements on the market for which there is no long-term safety data.

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

There is also convincing evidence that some prescription drugs such as SSRIs, SNRIs, Gabapentin, Clonadine (Catapres) and Pristiq, which are not licensed for treating menopausal symptoms do in fact alleviate hot flashes and night sweats. These are powerful drugs yet in severe cases some doctors may be willing to prescribe one of these treatments, with the patient’s consent.

Megace and Megace ES are synthetic female hormones belonging to the progesterone group used for stimulating appetite and treating breast cancer. The mechanism of appetite stimulation or suppression of cancer is not clearly understood and was FDA approved in 1993.

HERBAL MEDICINES

Herbal medicines are readily available however caution is advised since they can contain powerful ingredients that may contraindicate other prescription drugs and/or may have adverse effects on certain individuals.

Some examples include:
— Black Cohosh for hot flashes and sweating
— Kava to reduce anxiety
— Ginko to decrease the risk of onset of dementia and
— St. John’s Wort as an anti-depressant.

No substantiated medical studies are available for these medicines and most do not have to comply with the stringent safety, quality and manufacturing regulations that govern conventional medicines.

IN THE NEWS

As time progresses many women – and doctors – are looking for safer and more humane alternatives to conventional HRT.

In 2010 a non-hormonal supplement called Amberen, manufactured by Lunada Biomedical, was touted as the next cure-all for relief of menopausal symptoms. Claiming to have a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study to back its effectiveness, it contains 100% natural ingredients, all on the FDA’s approved Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) list. To date there are mixed reviews on its effectiveness – some it works for, some it doesn’t.

Osphena – touted as the new female Viagra – was FDA approved in 2013 for the treatment of painful sex due to vaginal atrophy associated with menopause.

Osphena is a SERM (selective estrogen receptor modulator) that acts as an estrogen agonist/antagonist – the same class of drugs as bazedoxifene. However it carries with it risky side effects: stimulation of the lining of the uterus that can lead to uterine cancer, increased risk of blood clots, hot flashes and drug interactions.

Moreover in early June 2013 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the drug “Brisdelle” (paroxetine) for the treatment of hot flashes due to menopause.

Brisdelle contains the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor paroxetine mesylate, making it unique from all other FDA-approved treatment for hot flashes which contain the hormones estrogen or progestin.

Brisdelle, manufactured by Noven Pharmaceuticals, is the first non-hormonal treatment to be approved by the FDA for hot flashes associated with menopause.

BUYER BEWARE

1. Bio-identical Hormones

The term Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) or “natural hormone therapy” is poorly defined and without a precise medical definition.

Bio-identical hormones are synthesized in the lab from plant sources and as the term implies are pharmaceuticals that closely mimic natural hormones produced in the body since they possess the same molecular structure as endogenous hormones.

There are two classifications of bioidentical hormones; (1) FDA-approved and; (2) compounded in pharmacies based on hormone levels measured in saliva and blood tests (not FDA approved).

The terminology is confusing and the FDA considers “BHRT” to be a marketing term. The lack of distinction between FDA-approved bioidentical hormones (often referred to as synthetics) and compounded bioidentical hormones has resulted in considerable misunderstanding regarding exactly what BHRT is.

The vast majority of advocates of BHRT are referring to the compounded versions where hormones are custom-mixed by a pharmacist – unapproved drugs.

In addition to estrogen and progesterone, these compounded drugs may contain other hormones such as testosterone, DHEA and adrenal hormones extracted from animal glands. http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Womens_Health_Watch/2011/September/bioidentical-hormones-help-or-hype

Often promoted as being safer than conventional HRT derived from pregnant mare’s urine, are these claims of a safer alternative justified?

This includes both FDA-approved and compounded hormones. A Harvard Women’s Health Watch article illustrates that there is much evidence to suggest they are not. http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Womens_Health_Watch/2011/September/bioidentical-hormones-help-or-hype

  • In contrast to mainstream thought, compounded BHRT hormones are drugs – just not approved.
  • As much as it may seem that these hormones are safer than the Premarin® family of drugs, there is no solid evidence to prove this. Some of these drugs have been approved by the FDA because data collected from trials has proven their effectiveness in relieving menopausal symptoms and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. However there have been no long-term studies like the WHI performed to assess their safety profile.
  • FDA-approved bioidenticals come with black box warnings analogous to those for conventional HRT. Because compounding pharmacies are not required to detail the risks of their bioidenticals (i.e. they are not approved) they may therefore create the illusion of being safer than commercially marketed drugs.
  • Overall, FDA-approved and compounded bioidenticals contain the same hormones. The difference between the two is the accuracy of preparation. Where FDA-approved versions are measured precisely under rigid control, compounded bioidenticals lack these specifications. Random testing has shown that the indicated potency of compounded hormones varies substantially.
  • Blood and saliva tests to measure a woman’s hormones is only a snapshot in time and are not particularly useful for setting hormone levels which can fluctuate from hour to hour. In menopausal women hormones levels are particularly unstable without a “normal” concentration. Accordingly dosage may be inappropriate for treating symptoms.

2. FDA-Approved Hormone Therapy

Contrary to popular belief the FDA has yet to approve any “true” generic as a substitute for Premarin® and its daughter products (i.e. Prempro®, Premphase®). In other words no prescription drugs used to treat menopausal symptoms, other than the Premarin family, contain pregnant mare’s urine.

Currently the vast majority of FDA-approved HRT prescription drugs are synthetic bioidenticals often referred to as “Synthetics” (i.e. hormones identical on a molecular level to endogenous hormones that are synthesized in the lab from natural plant sources) – these are not the versions produced at a compounding pharmacy which are not FDA approved.

What’s important however is that these drugs carry with them the same risks and warnings associated with drugs derived from conjugate estrogen estrogens, whether that be estrogen alone or combined with progestin.

In pre- and postmenopausal women, estrogens can increase the risk of cancer of the ovaries, stroke, dementia, and serious blood clots in the legs.

Estrogen, when used with a progestin, can increase the risk of heart disease (such as heart attacks), stroke, serious blood clots in the lungs/legs, dementia, and cancer of the breast/ovaries.

If you are concerned about these risks, there are basically three categories of FDA- approved synthetic bioidentical HRT products on the market as shown below along with their common brand names.

PRODUCT BRAND NAME
Estradiol / Norethindrone (Estrogen/Progestin Combinations): Activella, Jevantique
Synthetic Conjugated Estrogens, Estradiol, Esterified Estrogens: Estrace, Cenestin, Climara, Dinigel, Enjuvia, Estrogel, Minivelle, Ogen, Vivelle-Dot, Evamist, Menostar, Menest, Femring, Vagifem
Esterified Estrogens / Methyltestosterone (Estrogen/Androgen Combination): Menogen, Estratest, Covaryx, Essian, Syntest D.S., Syntest H.S.

CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR

In any case, it is important to separate fact from fiction and be astutely aware of the consequences of clinically unproven medications. Apart from the unmistakable benefits of lifestyle changes, before considering any of the alternatives listed please consult your doctor.

END