Menopausal symptoms manifesting as hot flashes and sweats occur in up to 75 percent of patients following either orchiectomy or treatment with a luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonist for prostate cancer. As many as one third of these patients will experience symptoms severe enough to seek palliation. We treated 12 such patients with low dose diethylstilbestrol (1/3 mg daily). Nine patients demonstrated both objective and subjective improvement in their menopausal symptoms. Five patients experienced toxicity including new onset of gynecomastia or breast soreness although no patient discontinued treatment on this basis. No cardiovascular complications were noted. We conclude that low dose diethylstilbestrol is an inexpensive, effective means of controlling troublesome postorchiectomy menopausal symptoms in carefully selected patients.
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