The FDA has approved a new estrogen drug that is derived from soy and yam plants. Cenestin was developed by Duramend Pharmaceuticals for used in treating hot flashes, night sweats, and other symptoms of menopause.
The top-selling brand of estrogen is now Premarin, a drug which is derived from the urine of pregnant horses. Women’s and animal rights activists have condemned the manufacturer of Premarin, Wyeth-Ayerst, alleging that mares are abused and treated cruelly in the drug’s production.
Cenestin’s manufacturer had originally planned to market its new yam and soy based estrogen as a generic version of Premarin, but Wyeth-Ayerst strongly opposed their plan and convinced the FDA to disallow this.
Cenestin has not yet been FDA-certified for preventing bone loss, but Duramend officials said that they expect to receive this certification sometime later this year or early next. Cenestine will be available for sale by prescription only in around three months.