Premphase is used to treat symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, and vaginal dryness, burning and irritation. It also works to prevent the thinning of bones, which can result in osteoporosis. Premphase is a mixture of estrogen hormones. It has been prescribed to more than six million women to treat menopause symptoms. Premphase, which is manufactured by Wyeth, made $890 million in 2001.

Studies have found that estrogen/progestin combinations can cause serious side effects to women using the drugs. Premphase and similar drugs have been linked to dementia, Alzheimer’s, strokes, blood clots, pulmonary embolisms, lupus and breast cancer. These side effects were especially prevalent when the drug was taken for an extended period of time.

In a 2007 study, it was discovered that the use of Premphase and other hormone replacement therapies can double the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in patients. These drugs were also seen to harm otherwise healthy women—increasing their risk of heart attack by 29 percent, stroke by 41 percent and breast cancer by 26 percent. This type of drug also causes a huge increase in blood clots.

Serious side effects may include:

  • Chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling
  • Sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden severe headache, confusion, problems with vision, speech, or balance
  • Pain, swelling, warmth, or redness in one or both legs
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Migraine headache
  • Pain, swelling, or tenderness in your stomach
  • Confusion, problems with memory or concentration
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • Swelling in hands, ankles, or feet
  • Breast lumps

Less serious side effects may include:

  • Mild nausea, vomiting, bloating, stomach pain
  • Breast pain, tenderness, or swelling
  • Freckles or darkening of facial skin
  • Acne, increased hair growth, loss of scalp hair
  • Changes in weight or appetite
  • Problems with contact lenses
  • Vaginal itching or discharge
  • Changes in your menstrual periods, decreased sex drive
  • Headache, nervousness, dizziness, tired feeling
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