A Tribute to Dr. Katharina Dalton
Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP- Women's International Pharmacy
PMS jokes abound in today's society, even though they're not really funny. It's very likely that most of us toss around the acronym of PMS (for premenstrual syndrome) without giving a thought as to where or how it originated.
In 1994, there was a movie titled Tom and Viv about the relationship of T.S. Eliot (the American poet) and his wife, Vivienne Haight-Wood Eliot, whom he married in 1915. Upon their marriage, he became the custodian not only of her money, but also of her physical being. Vivienne suffered terribly each month from what we now would recognize as PMS. After unsuccessfully trying to help her, T.S. Eliot had his wife committed to an asylum where she spent the remainder of her days. He never saw her again after she was committed. This movie reflected the thinking at that time. Women who suffered from hormone disturbances were thought to have mental rather than physical problems.
Dr. Katharina Dalton made a huge contribution to our understanding of hormone disturbances, and she is also the one who named the syndrome PMS. She identified and successfully treated many problems that were uniquely female. As we explore the mysteries and benefits of hormone therapies today, we are standing on the shoulders of her achievements, which include a tremendous amount of observation and study.
On her death at the age of 87 on September 17, 2004, Dr. Dalton's life and work were reviewed by many major newspapers in Great Britain, where she practiced, and in the United States, where she also made a huge impact by identifying physical reasons for issues that had previously been dismissed as hysterical or only a figment of the mind. The concept of a women's health movement may very well have started with her work.
Dr. Dalton's Impact on Women's International Pharmacy (WIP)
Dr. Dalton's studies, and other studies like hers, provided the basis of knowledge for many pharmacists including our founder, Wallace (Wally) Simons. Wally used his scientific understanding of progesterone to benefit the women coming to his pharmacy from the "PMS Clinic" next door. Wally knew the importance of creating a progesterone formulation that would be absorbed via the lymphatic system into the blood stream rather than immediately being broken down by the liver when taken orally. Today, 28 years later, WIP pharmacists are still utilizing and expanding upon the core compounding practices Wally developed. One of our pharmacist's, Carol Petersen, was recently recognized in Pharmacy Today's June profile edition in an article entitled "Compound interest: Petersen shares expertise on women's health, leads APhA-APPM Compounding SIG." The legacy of Women's International Pharmacy's mission to find solutions to meet patient-specific needs endures.
Continue to Pharmacy Today's June Article
Progesterone May Help Control Perimenstrual Seizures
Written by Kathy Lynch, PharmD - Women's International Pharmacy
Progesterone, a neuroactive steroid hormone, produces profound effects on brain function. It not only protects nerve tissue after traumatic injury, but can act as an anti-epileptic as well. It is particularly beneficial when used in women suffering from perimenstrual seizures.
The anti-seizure effects of progesterone were first reported in 1942, and have since been substantiated by both animal and clinical human studies. The rapid drop in female progesterone levels prior to menses may precipitate seizures in susceptible women.
Andrew Herzog studied a small group of women who suffered seizures between day 25 and day 2 of the menstrual cycle. They all had low progesterone levels during the mid-luteal phase. When progesterone was administered daily prior to seizure activity, 18 of the 25 women saw a decline in their daily seizure frequency. Herzog later treated a group of 294 subjects with the same dose. Post-study results found a therapeutic benefit for those women who experienced higher levels of perimenstrual seizure activity.
"Progesterone Therapy in Women with Complex Partial and Secondary Generalized Seizures" by A.G. Herzog; Neurology; 1995; 45:1660-1662.
"Progesterone vs Placebo Therapy for Women with Epilepsy" by A.G. Herzog, K.M. Fowler, S.D. Smithson et al; Neurology; 2012; 78:1959-1966.