January 13, 2011

Hormone Gels and the Risk to Kids and Pets

Filed under: Human Medications and Pets — Dr. Amber Reed @ 4:54 pm

Hormone gels and creams are prescribed to men and women in order to help them maintain healthy hormone levels.  Menopausal women may use these creams to treat hot flashes and men suffering from low testosterone levels may also use them.  Unfortunately, with these creams we risk exposing children and pets whenever we engage in skin to skin contact.  While serious problems resulting from such contact are rare, there are some shocking symptoms associated with secondary exposure to these hormone gels.

hormone gelChildren exposed to hormone gels may show signs of puberty earlier than average and cases of enlarged genitalia, early pubic hair growth, and even breast development have been reported.  Dogs can cats may even ingest the cream when they lick your hand or skin leading to heat-like behavior even if they have been spayed.  In fact, in July of this year, the FDA went so far as to issue a warning to parents that children and pets need to be protected from exposure to Evamist, a commonly prescribed estrogen spray for menopausal women.  Furthermore, manufacturers AndroGel and Testim, two common topical testosterone gels, were required by the FDA to include warnings on the products’ labels.

While the risk to children and pets is increased when individuals are using topical hormone gels, these forms of replacement therapy seem to be healthier for the patient.  With oral hormone replacement therapy, specifically for women taking estrogen, there tends to be a higher risk of blood clots, stroke, and heart attack while transdermal hormone gels are significantly safer.  As a result, there has been a noticeable shift in treatment toward creams and gels.

Patients who use topical hormone gels and who also have close contact with children and animals should take special precautions.  Always wash your hands after applying the cream or gel to prevent secondary exposure.  Also, if you regularly hold pets or small children, you should be careful to prevent secondary exposure from contact with arms, legs, and the body.

About Dr. Amber Reed

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