IMPLANTATION and feeding of various synthetic and natural estrogenic hormones especially diethylstilbestrol, to achieve improved efficiency of feed and better quality of carcass is a common practice among producers of livestock and poultry in this country. Androgenic agents have been used only experimentally to date. The preparations dosages and techniques employed are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Despite their requirement that no detectable residue of estrogenic hormones be present in edible tissues of treated animals offered for sale, some individuals maintain that the use of these hormones should be banned entirely because they believe that controls are inadequate to insure proper usage, and that analytic methods are not sensitive enough to detect minute quantities of hormones, whose repeated ingestion even in trace amounts might prove harmful.
Fortunately, extensive data have been gathered on the physiologic effects of stilbestrol and other estrogenic agents, their therapeutic uses and toxicology. Also, the quantities of estrogenic residues in the tissues of treated animals have been determined.
Greatest concern has been expressed over effects of stilbestrol on reproductive function on growth, and its possible carcinogenic properties. There is no doubt that stilbestrol can suppress ovulation in women if given in adequate amounts during the proper period of the menstrual cycle; and a relatively large dose (25 mg) may produce temporary impotence, but not sterility, in the male. These effects do not persist, however, when the dosage is discontinued, as the drug is destroyed and excreted in 3 or 4 days.
Relatively little is known about the specific effects of stilbestrol on children since its therapeutic use has concentrated on adults.
- Copyright © 1960 by the American Academy of Pediatrics