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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

What are the ingredients in Danocrine?

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

How does Danocrine work?

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

What are the side effects of Danocrine?

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

This is not an exhaustive list of all potential side effects of Danocrine. Talk to your healthcare provider for more information.

Things to note about Danocrine

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), and liver issues.1 Talk with your healthcare provider about your risk 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

Dosage information

Your doctor or healthcare provider will let you know the dosage and administration schedule of Danocrine that is most appropriate for your situation. For endometriosis, an initial dosage of Danocrine can be anywhere from 200 to 800 mg divided into two doses each day. The dosage of Danocrine can be adjusted, as is often decreased overtime in order to find the lowest dose possible that still alleviates pain adequately. Due to many of the serious side effects that Danocrine can cause, it is recommended that treatment only last three to six months, with a maximum treatment length of nine months. In some cases, after a break from treatment, Danocrine therapy can be restarted.1

Written by: Casey Hribar | Last reviewed: June 2019
  1. Danazol Prescribing Information. National Institutes of Health. Published August 2017. Accessed May 1, 2018.
  2. What are the Treatments for Endometriosis? National Institutes of Health: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Published January 31, 2017. Accessed May 1, 2018.
  3. Endometriosis: Should I Use Hormone Therapy? Michigan Medicine: University of Michigan. Published October 6, 2017. Accessed May 1, 2018.