Bio-Identical verses Non-Bio-Identical Hormones
As a compounding pharmacy, we frequently hear many types of questions about bio-identical hormones. We hope the following explanation is helpful. For more information, feel free to visit the Stevens Pharmacy website.
Bio-identical hormones have the same chemical structure as hormones that are made by the human body. The term “bio-identical” does not indicate the source of the hormone, but rather refers to the chemical structure. In order for a replacement hormone to fully replicate the function of hormones which were originally naturally produced and present in the human body, the chemical structure must exactly match the original. Bio-identical hormones are able to follow normal metabolic pathways so that essential active metabolites are formed in response to hormone replacement therapy.
There are significant differences between hormones that are natural to humans (bio-identical) and non-bio-identical (including horse) preparations. Side chains can be added to a naturally-occurring hormone to create a synthetic drug that can be patented by a manufacturer. A patented drug can be profitable to mass produce, and therefore a drug company can afford to fund research as to the medication’s use and effectiveness. However, bio-identical substances can not be patented, so scientific studies are less numerous on natural hormones, because medical research is usually funded by drug companies. Structural differences that exist between bio-identical human, and non-bio-identical synthetic and animal hormones may be responsible for side effects that are experienced when non-bio-identical hormones are used for replacement therapy.
Bio-identical hormones include estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), estriol (E3), progesterone, testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and pregnenolone. Our compounding specialists work together with patients and prescribers to provide customized bio-identical hormone replacement therapy that provides the needed hormones in the most appropriate strength and dosage form to meet each woman’s specific needs. Hormone replacement therapy should be initiated carefully after a woman’s medical and family history has been reviewed. Every woman is unique and will respond to therapy in her own way. Close monitoring and medication adjustments are essential.
More information is available here.