Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up
Includes Expert Content
Amberen & Breast Cancer
avatar
An_194900 posted:
I'm interested in taking Amberen, however, having had estrogen-fed breast cancer, I am very concerned about the risk. Although they advertise no risk, the whole idea behind Amberen is the fact that it makes the body start "working" again. This means to me that the body will start producing the hormones needed to alleviate menopausal symptons. Is this correct? I have NO desire for sex,( my poor husband is a gem!) and horrible vaginal dryness and atrophy, so when we do attempt intecourse it is not fun for either of us. Oral sex is fine, but, let's face it, it's not love-making at it's best. I also have hot flashes and memory loss, so it would be a miracle if this product is all it claims to be. Anybody know for sure how this works? Thank you!
Reply
 
avatar
fcl responded:
http://www.healthcentral.com/breast-cancer/c/question/279503/64490
 
avatar
Jane Harrison Hohner, RN, RNP responded:
Dear Anon: Perhaps my memory fails me, but didn't you ask this identical question (even with same wording) before? FCL give a good reference. Here's some more information quoted directly from the Amberen manufacturer's website:

I had hormone receptive cancer in my breast years ago, but I am in remission now. Will Amberen increase my risk for a return of breast cancer?

Patients with hormone-receptive cancers were NOT included in Amberen's clinical trials, so there is no data regarding cancer survivors. However, many cancer survivors take Amberen and do very well with it. Amberen restores the communication between the hypothalamus and the endocrine system, enabling the body to produce its own hormones, naturally. Because every situation is different, we advise you to consult your doctor (oncologist or endocrinologist) or other trusted healthcare provider to see if Amberen would be a good fit at this point in your treatment or remission. For your doctor's reference, more information about Amberen's clinical trials is available here
.

Anon, there is a very strong placebo effect in most menopausal treatment trials. That is why a menopausal study can make the best conclusions if there is a group in the study that receives a placebo (sugar pill). I looked at the studies produced by Amberen---there are not many published. Here is the best I could find at the National Library of Medicine site:

Adv Gerontol. 2008;21(2):298-305.
A succinate-based composition reverses menopausal symptoms without sex hormone replacement therapy.

Maevsky EI, Peskov AB, Uchitel ML, Pogorelov AG, Saharova NY, Vihlyantseva EF, Bogdanova LA, Kondrashova MN.

Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Biophysics RAS, 3 Institutskaya ul., Pushchino, Moscow region 142290, Russia. eim1@rambler.ru
Abstract

Menopausal transition is often accompanied by a variety of adverse pathological symptoms, currently treated with hormone replacement therapy, which is associated with a number of health risks. This report investigated the role of a food supplement--a composition of energy-exchange metabolites, with succinate as the main component--for treating menopausal syndrome. We studied the impact of a 4-week succinate-based food composition (SBC) treatment on the estral cycle, and bone mass and calcium content of aging mice. The impact of SBC on hormone levels and on the progression of several neurovegetative and psycho-emotional symptoms was further investigated in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study of early menopausal women. Data were collected from questionnaires, Kupperman index scores, Spielberger-Hanin tests, and blood analysis of hormone levels taken at baseline and throughout the 5-week study. A "rejuvenating" effect of SBC on menopausal animals was observed, expressed as restoration of the estral cycle and an increase in the weight and calcium content of bone tissue. Furthermore, in the randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study in menopausal women, SBC-based monotherapy significantly lowered most subjectively evaluated characteristics of menopausal syndrome and increased blood serum levels of estradiol fourfold. This monotherapy also alleviated symptoms of some neurovegetative and psycho-emotional disorders, such as hot flushes, headache, and anxiety. Succinate-based therapy alleviated many biochemical symptoms of menopause in aging mice and early menopausal women, as well as neurovegetative and psycho-emotional disorders in women. Succinate-based therapy appeared to be free of adverse side effects.

Anon, note that estradiol levels increased by four fold. Yet we are not told if that means from 5 picograms to 20 (still menopausal range) or from 20 to 80 (premenopausal range). The website is predominantly testimonials-- not a list of ingredients or data.

Buyer beware! Talk with your MD about the newest low dose Vagifem for vaginal atrophy. There are good published studies about blood levels.

Yours,
Jane
 
avatar
An_194901 responded:
Sometimes reassurance is good and needed, I do understand your concerns .... Have you tired any of the lubricants before sex? They might help and you can buy them over the counter.
 
avatar
danalarue replied to Jane Harrison Hohner, RN, RNP's response:
Dear Jane,
I don't know why this question came up again. I didn't repost it. Maybe because others answered it. I really DO appreciate ALL the new answers though! Thanks ladies! Jane, I truly appreciate you taking the time to type the very informative response you did. It helps me greatly to have some things to check into further. I checked with my Gynocologist about Vagifem, and she talked to my oncologist, who still doesn't want me to use it. I have tried estring and will try it again, but that, plus lubricants, just don't help the painful intercourse.

On another note - isn't 'estradiol levels' estrogen? If so, my oncologist is NOT going to let me take the Amberen. And my husband doesn't want me to either. I don't blame them, I really don't want to invite my cancer back!

Thanks, again, for your response!
 
avatar
Jane Harrison Hohner, RN, RNP replied to danalarue's response:
Dear danalarue: Thanks for a name so I can find you among all the Anons! Thank you also for the clarification and additional history. The easy part first. Yes, estradiol is a type of natural estrogen. It is also the most biologically potent of the three most common natural estrogens.

Estring also contains estradiol; 2 mg which is gradually released over three months time. By comparison, a common dose of oral estradiol used in menopausal hormone replacement is 1 mg taken every day--or a 0.05 dose of estradiol via a skin patch.

There is good data about estradiol blood levels in women using vaginal estrogen products. Rioux (2000) compared the older 25 microgram Vagifem (which is being taken off the market in favor of a newer 10 microgram dose) to Premarin vaginal cream. After 24 weeks only 3/80 of the Vagifem users had an elevated estradiol of more than 40 picograms compared to 21/79 Premarin users. Mettler (1991) found blood estradiol levels of 11.2 picograms after a year of usage--this compares to 9.6 before treatment began. And that was will the higher dose Vagifem. Notelovitz (2002) found blood levels of 23 picograms after three months of use of Vagifem 25 micrograms. Dew (2003) studied 60 breast cancer survivors using topical estrogen products and found not statistical increase in recurrence rates compared to non-users.

There is one study in the oncology literature (Kendall, 2006) where six women on aromatase inhibitors were given Vagifem 25 micrograms. There was a brief estrogen peak at the two week mark after daily use in an atropic vagina (increases absorption until the vaginal tissues become thicker again). After that time levels dropped to 16 picomols/mL.

Alas, there is no real data available on Amberen. I am truly moved by your original post and its description of loss of sexual quality of life. You might benefit from having your GYN and your oncologist consult about your case. One oncologist (Kendall, 2006) suggested a break from aromatase inhibitors and using tamoxifen with low dose topical estrogens for a short time. Hopefully they can use the data available to help sort out your options.

With Respect,
Jane
 
avatar
danalarue replied to Jane Harrison Hohner, RN, RNP's response:
Thank you, Jane! YOU are a godsend!

Very Sincerely Yours,
Dana
 
avatar
jonafgf responded:
Anon,
Where I you, I'd try FemFlax. At 700mg of active ingredient per capsule, it is 10 times more potent than whole ground flaxseed and is produced entirely from pure flax hull lignans. The phytoestrogens in this product come from lignans, not flavonoids. Soy based phytoestrogens (flavonoids) have been linked to cancer. However, lignan phytoestrogens produce an anti-estrogenic effect that prohibits the first time or regrowth of estrogen sensitive breast cancer cell development. Phytoestrogens act as weak surrogate estrogens and are far less powerful than real estradiol. Due to this inherent weakness, FemFlax was developed to be the most potent phytoestrogen supplement on the market. FemFlax offers a dose selection of 2, 4, or 6 capsules per day (depending on the individual's symptom severity) and can effectively eliminate common menopause symptoms including hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. Best of luck.
 
avatar
danalarue replied to jonafgf's response:
Thank you, jonafgf!! Just found this response and WILL be checking into FemFlax! I'll try and post any results I have.
 
avatar
Naoma replied to Jane Harrison Hohner, RN, RNP's response:
Hi,

I have been looking into natural alternatives to HTR. I have had breast cancer 7 yrs. ago and have suffered with hot flashes, mood swings, dryness and the list goes on all this time. My oncologist does not want me to take any estrogen products. It was an estrogen receptive cancer. However, I was on Premarin for over 16 years. That is, as we know now, horse urine which is much stronger than human estrogen. Well guess what, it gave me cancer and many other women. I have many books, articles and publications that state natural hormone replacement protects you from cancer and does not give it to you. I tried a cream over the internet but was allergic to it (I am allergic to many things). When I found out about Amberen, my hope was back up. It doesn't put estrogen into your body, it only helps it work naturally. What could be better. Your body producing what it needs. Studies were done years ago that women did not get cancer until they went through menopause. Why? Because estrogen is cancer protective, and with menopause it diminishes. Natural estrogen your body produces or bio-identical are not cancer causing and may just protect us (old gals). The only thing the doctors will provide me with is anti-seizure meds or anti-depressants. That's pathetic. They have awful side effects, but that is okay because the pharmaceuticals get their money. I will show my oncologist the information on Amberen, but I guarantee he will not want me on it. I wish they would look at alternative therapies. I also declined chemo and radiation, and I am still here. May God help us all find the truth.

Naoma
 
avatar
Jane Harrison Hohner, RN, RNP replied to Naoma's response:
Dear Naoma: Thanks for your thoughts, and struggles, as a breast cancer survivor. I wish, as an old gal myself, that natural estrogens and progesterones were really proven to be protective for breast cancer--we'd all be taking them! But honestly that data is not really there (dang!). Interestingly, the most recent follow up data from the WHI study (thousands of older women randomized to Premarin vs placebo or Premarin Provera vs placebo) has found that women on Premarin (estrogen derived from horse urine) alone actually had less breast cancer than women using the placebo/sugar pills. ...There's a lot we don't know and still need to learn about hormone effects---and about breast cancer itself.

In Solidarity,
Jane
 
avatar
jwill1963 responded:
Hi! I just received my 90-day Amberen today and started talking it. Here's the deal: I am a 1-year breast cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer and it was hormone fed huge tumor. Had underwent chemo, double radical mastectomies/reconstruction stage one and two, followed later with 6 1/2 weeks of daily radiation treatments. I don't have any breast tissue but five months, I was placed on tamoxifen, it was a nightmare and the pill straight from HELL and I took myself off of it because of the rapid weight gain, headaches, joint pains, endless hotflashes and night sweats, and every side effect there was. Months later I came across amberen and researched and said, "what can I lose? I'll try something." With God's help and Divine protection, I will take the supplement and see what happens. Nothing else has worked for me and these symptoms are severe. So see what your doctor say, but I believe it will be safe for both of us. God bless you and I pray that you will have lots of success with amberen!


Helpful Tips

birth control pills and gelatin-like clots
I started taking birth control pills because I had an ovarian cyst that made periods painful. Now when I'm on my periods, I will go to the ... More
Was this Helpful?
34 of 73 found this helpful

Expert Blog

Below the Belt: Women's Health - Jane Harrison-Hohner, RN, RNP

From HPV to irregular periods to PMS to fibroids, Jane Harrison-Hohner, RN, is here to share her knowledge and insight...Read More

Related News

There was an error with this newsfeed

Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.