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October 2, 1943


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, and the Washington University Clinics.

JAMA. 1943;123(5):261-264. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840400009003

Since Dodds and his associates1 synthesized the estrogenic substance diethylstilbestrol in 1938 numerous clinical studies have demonstrated that this compound is a powerful and therapeutically effective estrogen when administered either by injection or by mouth. Many investigators have shown that it may produce some undesirable reactions. The commonest clinical objection to diethylstilbestrol has been nausea, and in various series from 10 to 60 per cent of the patients treated have complained of this possibly toxic reaction. Usually nausea can be avoided by reducing the dose,2 by giving the medication at bedtime,3 or by using interrupted treatment.4 A few patients do not tolerate even small doses, and Finch5 has suggested that nausea may be an allergic reaction. Infrequent occurrence of vomiting, headache, vertigo, abdominal distress, diarrhea or dermatoses has been reported following the administration of diethylstilbestrol. Thus the dosage, and therefore the therapeutic effectiveness, of this