The Law Offices of Sybil Shainwald, P.C.

The Law Offices of Sybil Shainwald, P.C.


DES is a synthetic oral form of estrogen that was prescribed to pregnant women from 1938 through 1971 to prevent miscarriages. DES was a wonder drug prescribed in the mistaken belief that higher estrogen levels could prevent miscarriage. It was also given to mother’s as vitamins to make stronger, healthier babies. The popularity of this drug spread throughout the United States, to Canada, Europe, Australia, and beyond.

The drug, synthesized from a coal-tar derivative, was never patented and numerous pharmaceutical companies began production of DES without first conducting any long-term studies. The letters “DES” are short for diethylstilbestrol, but DES includes a number of similar compounds that were marketed under different names, including Desplex, Stibestrol, Stibetin, Estrobene, and Dienestrol; the names varied depending on the pharmaceutical company manufacturing or selling DES.

In 1954, the first controlled study of DES efficacy revealed that the drug did not work to prevent miscarriages; however, it was not until 1971 that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned DES for use during pregnancy because it was found to be associated with a rare form of vaginal and cervical cancer in women exposed to DES in utero. The implications were terrifying: millions of young people might experience disease, after an unknown period of time, from exposure before birth to a carcinogenic presriction drug. However, the horrors did not stop with cancer, DES also causes a wide range of reproductive tract injuries as well as infertility.

Some common side effects of in utero DES exposure include:

• Clear Cell Adenocarcinoma

• Infertility

• Paraovarian Cist

• Miscarriage

• Ectopic Pregnancy

• Structural Abnormalities of the Reproductive Organs

• Breast Cancer

• Uterine Fibroids

If you took DES while pregnant, tell your children about the DES exposure. Even if your children have not yet had health problems, it is important that they know that they were exposed to this harmful drug so they can get the proper medical treatment. If you know that you were exposed to DES, please consult your physician.

Sybil Shainwald and her staff are the nationally recognized leaders fighting for justice and restitution for those who have been injured by DES. If DES-exposure has injured you, please contact our office to discuss your legal options.