Danocrine (danazol)

Danocrine (danazol) is a medication indicated for women with endometriosis to treat endometriosis-related pain. Danazol is a synthetic steroid that suppresses ovarian function and affects the levels of certain hormones in the body that are related to the menstrual cycle and other aspects of the reproductive system. Danocrine is also indicated for the treatment of fibrocystic breast disease and hereditary angioedema (swelling) in males and females.1-3

Danazol can severely impact a developing fetus, which is why pregnant women should not take this medication. Additionally, non-hormonal contraceptive methods, such as condoms, should be used when taking Danazol. Danazol increases the risk of developing blood clots and other cardiovascular complications such as stroke. It also increases the risk of developing issues with liver functioning, as well as increased cerebrospinal fluid pressure in the skull (intracranial hypertension).1-3

Ingredients

The active ingredient in Danocrine is danazol, the synthetic steroid that impacts hormone levels in the body.

How Danocrine works for the treatment of endometriosis

Danocrine functions in a variety of ways within the body, and interacts with complex hormonal pathways. Ultimately, Danocrine suppresses ovarian function, and the pituitary-ovarian axis, which decreases the amount of estrogen in the body, among other outcomes. This decrease in estrogen can shrink endometriosis lesions, as well as potentially prevent them from thickening and breaking down, decreasing endometriosis-related pain. In addition to this, Danocrine also acts on androgen receptors, increasing male hormone levels in the body. This can lead to distressing side effects for women, such as decreased breast size and experiencing deepening of the voice.1-3

Possible side effects

Many clinical trials have evaluated the safety and efficacy of Danocrine. The most common side effects of Danocrine include:

  • Weight gain
  • Sweating or oily skin
  • Acne
  • Hair loss
  • Deepening of the voice
  • Swelling
  • Abnormal growth of hair (such as on the face in women)
  • Abnormal menstrual bleeding or spotting
  • Absence of period (amenorrhea)
  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Vaginal irritation
  • Reduction in breast size
  • Emotional instability and mental health disturbances such as anxiety or depression1

These are not all the possible side effects of Danocrine. Talk to your doctor about what to expect or if you experience any changes that concern you during treatment with Danocrine.

Risks & considerations

Danocrine can severely impact a developing fetus, which is why it is important that pregnant women do not take this medication. If a woman thinks she could be pregnant, a pregnancy test should be completed before starting treatment. Additionally, it's important to note that although Danocrine may impact the menstrual cycle, including causing an absence of a woman's period, it is not considered an effective contraceptive. Since other hormonal medications cannot be used with Danocrine, non-hormonal contraception methods (such as condoms) should be used if a woman is sexually active and taking Danocrine.1

Danocrine can increase a woman's risk of developing blood clots, cardiovascular events such as stroke, intracranial hypertension (increased fluid and pressure in the skull), liver issues, and other serious side effects.1 Talk with your healthcare provider about these risks before beginning treatment, as well as warning signs to look for.

Before beginning treatment, tell your provider if you:

  • Are taking any other medications, vitamins, or supplements
  • Have a history of mental illness
  • Have a history of hormone-related conditions
  • Have a history of hormone-sensitive cancer such as breast cancer
  • Have a history of epilepsy or seizures
  • Have a history of migraine headaches
  • Have any cardiovascular conditions
  • Have any issues with your liver or kidneys
  • Have diabetes or are pre-diabetic
  • Are pregnant or may become pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed
  • Are allergic to any medications or any ingredients in medications1

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Written by: Casey Hribar | Last reviewed: February 2021