Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is a synthetic derivative of the hormone estrogen, and was one of the first hormonal agents used in the treatment of prostate cancer.  DES inhibits gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) from the hypothalamus in the brain, thus inhibiting testosterone release from the testes.  The reduction in testosterone slows the growth rate of the prostate tumor.  When dosed appropriately, testosterone levels in men can drop to levels as low as those observed following orchiectomy (surgical castration).

DES is still used commonly for the hormonal treatment of prostate cancer along with other agents.  DES had a number of undesirable toxicities associated with it, such as an increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, blood clots, pulmonary embolism, and significant gynecomastia (breast enlargement).  Increased cardovascular side effects are usually associated with higher dosages (5mg per day and greater).  Many prostate cancer specialists prescribe DES at low doses of 1-3 mg per day and have found it safe for most patients if they are monitored regularly.  Other side effects that may occur with DES include loss of libido, impotence, breast tenderness, fluid retention (swelling of the feet and lower legs), abdominal pain, and hot flashes.  DES should be used cautiously in patients with a history of heart and circulatory problems.

DES is no longer manufactured commercially.  It must be obtained from a specialty compounding pharmacy.  Apothecary Options compounds DES capsules for patients on the prescription order of their physician.  All of our capsules are lactose free.

Diethylstilbestrol, 0.5mg capsule   #100 = $49.95
Diethylstilbestrol, 1mg capsule   #100 = $57.65
Diethylstilbestrol, 2mg capsule   #100 = $62.00
Diethylstilbestrol, 3mg capsule   #100 = $68.35

Click here to download a preprinted prescription.