Diethylstilbestrol tablets come in two strengths - 1 mg for men and 5 mg for women. Each time you collect a prescription, check that you have been given the correct strength for you.
Side-effects of this treatment include feeling sick, swollen feet and ankles and an increased risk of blood clots. Impotence and breast enlargement occur in men.
|Type of medicine||An oestrogen|
|Used for||Prostate cancer in men
Breast cancer in women
Diethylstilbestrol is an oestrogen hormone which helps to control the symptoms of some cancers.
It is sometimes used to treat prostate cancer, particularly if other therapies are not suitable. It is also occasionally used in women to treat breast cancer (providing you have been through the menopause).
Before taking diethylstilbestrol
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking diethylstilbestrol it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you have heart or circulation problems.
- If you have liver problems.
- If it is for breast cancer and you have not been through the menopause.
- If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
How to take diethylstilbestrol
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about diethylstilbestrol tablets and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- Take diethylstilbestrol exactly as your doctor tells you to. Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you how many tablets to take a day, and your dose will also be on the label of the pack to remind you. As a guide, it is usual for men to take 1-3 mg daily, and women to take 10-20 mg daily.
- You can take the tablets before or after meals, but try to take your doses at the same time each day as this will help you to remember to take them.
- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the following day, skip the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress.
- If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking diethylstilbestrol.
Can diethylstilbestrol cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These may improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common diethylstilbestrol side-effects||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling sick||Stick to simple foods - avoid rich or spicy meals. It may help to take your tablets after a meal|
|Swollen feet and ankles||Put your feet up whenever possible. Let your doctor know if this becomes troublesome|
|An increased risk of blood clots, impotence, breast enlargement (in men), withdrawal bleeding (in women)||Your doctor will discuss these with you before you start treatment|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store diethylstilbestrol
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with your other medicines.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 64th Edition (Sep 2012) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London (links to current BNF)
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen||Peer Reviewer: Dr Adrian Bonsall|
|Last Checked: 11/12/2012||Document ID: 3743 Version: 23||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.