DES: The Complete Story

Possibly the most comprehensive book on Diethylstilbestrol

a Book by Cynthia Laitman Orenberg

DES the complete story book cover image
A comprehensive handbook on DES, diethylstilbestrol, explains the potential effects of the drug on mothers and their children and provides practical information for those exposed to the drug.

This prize-winning book provides comprehensive information on every aspect (including legal info) of the drug, DES, the artifical estrogen that was given to millions of pregnant women in the mistaken belief that it would prevent miscarriage. It is clearly written with the consumer in mind, well-organized and still accurate, even more than two decades since its publication.

Sources: Amazon customer review


Mrs Orenberg, a medical editor and writer for the University of Wisconsin Medical School, has written a treatise on the effects of diethylstilbestrol (DES) from the perspective of a mother whose daughter was exposed in utero to this drug. In 200 pages, she relates in lay terms essentially what is considered to be current knowledge regarding the development of DES, the first inexpensive, orally effective estrogenic substance; the clinical trials carried out by the Smiths in the 1940s regarding its usefulness in certain complications of pregnancy; its subsequent widespread use in several million pregnant women; the controlled double-blind studies that eventually demonstrated it to be no more effective than a placebo; the study in Boston by Herbst, Ulfelder, Scully, and Poskanzer that related exposure in utero to this drug to the development of a rare clear-cell adenocarcinoma of the vagina in several young women; and the subsequent establishment of a …

  • Sources: JAMA. 371088 1982;247(14):2027. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320390085060.
  • Check-out this DES books album on Flickr.
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