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December 23, 1939


JAMA. 1939;113(26):2318-2320. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.72800510009010a

Diethylstilbestrol is a synthetic estrogen, the chemical and estrogenic properties of which were reported by Dodds, Lawson and Noble.1 Extensive animal experimentation since has shown it to have more pronounced estrogenic effects when given by mouth than the naturally occurring estrogens, even when the latter are injected intramuscularly.

Guldberg2 first reported the clinical use of stilbestrol in the case of a young castrate in whom he produced what he considered actual menstruation by stilbestrol and progesterone injection. Since then stilbestrol has been extensively used clinically in England and elsewhere with excellent therapeutic results in cases in which estrogen therapy is indicated.

Winterton and MacGregor3 and Kellar and Sutherland4 reported the frequent occurrence of nausea and vomiting following the administration of stilbestrol and that has been one of the main objections to its use. The possibility that the substance may have further toxic effects on the liver,