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Preliminary Research on Estriol Looks Promising for MS Treatment

By HERWriter
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research on estriol looks promising for MS treatment Tom Baker/PhotoSpin

A hormone called estriol (also known as oestriol) which is produced in higher amounts during pregnancy may be used in the future for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

A group of 158 women who have the most common form, relapsing-remitting MS was studied by Rhonda Voskuhl of the Univeristy of California, Los Angeles and her colleagues.

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was performed at 16 locations in the United States. Daily doses of 8 mg of estriol were given to 86 women with multiple sclerosis in addition to their medication Copaxone (glatiramer acetate).

Relapsing-remitting MS has periodic symptom flares which are then followed by recovery from symptoms.

After a year of estriol, it was found that there were 47 percent fewer flares in the estriol group than in the control group which was taking Copaxone and placebo. After two years had passed, the rate of relapse was 32 percent less than that of the control group.

The women who had received estriol also had scored better in cognitive testing, on average about 6 percent better. Speculation was that damaged brain cells could have been repaired.

After two years, even the women on the medication and placebo improved. The improvements took longer though and were not as great as in the women taking the drug and estriol.

The results of the preliminary Phase II clinical trial was reported upon at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting held in Philadelphia on April 29, 2014.

Medications presently used for MS can cost as much as $60,000 annually. They help to reduce relapses, and inhibit disease progression somewhat but they do not cure multiple sclerosis.

Voskuhl and Walter Koroshetz, deputy director of the US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, Maryland advise against women attempting to treat their MS on their own because more research is needed.

Estriol is sold in Europe in hormone replacement therapies for osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Estriol has been used safely in Europe and Asia for many years.

Unlike most MS medications, estriol can be administered in a pill rather than an injection. It can't be bought in the United States however.

Voskuhl was quoted on UCLA Newsroom as saying, "Currently, all of the available drugs reduce immune attacks on the brain, but none of them protects the brain. Estriol is particularly promising because it both reduces attacks and protects the brain directly. It's a two-pronged approach — an anti-inflammatory prong to reduce the attacks, and a neuroprotective prong to make the brain suffer less damage in case of an attack."

Pregnancy hormone could offer simple treatment for MS. Newscientist.com. Retrieved May 5, 2014.

Preliminary clinical trial shows great promise for new multiple sclerosis treatment. Newsroom.ucla.edu. Retrieved May 5, 2014.

Visit Jody's website at http://www.ncubator.ca

Reviewed May 6, 2014
by Michele Blacksberg RN

Add a Comment4 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

My Dr ended up changing my script from 2 mg to 8 mg after I pointed out the trial, BUT now insurance won't cover it AND I was layed off work November 2014. And now after 30 years of employment, my husband was ley go. $$ is the issue and I'm out of the script. :(

June 13, 2015 - 5:15am
EmpowHER Guest

Thank you for your reply.
I hope my Dr truly understands the protocol, but I'll check on his thoughts about it.

Is it common or uncommon to use 2 mg estriol for M.S.?

January 5, 2015 - 2:37pm

Dear Anon,

Thank you for sharing your question with the EmpowHER community.

The 8mg dosage is what was administered for this particular trial. Dosage is based on your age and medical condition, response to therapy, and use of certain interacting medicines.

Your physician prescribed the dosage he or she recommended for your condition, but you can certainly talk to your doctor about the dosage. Your physician is the only one who can tell you how much or how little is effective for your particular circumstances.

Let us know if you discuss this with your doctor.



January 5, 2015 - 1:29pm
EmpowHER Guest

So is 8 mg the dose to take or is 2 mg even effective enough. My Dr only prescribed 2 mg. ??? Should I ask for an increase in the script?

January 2, 2015 - 8:29am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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