Also Known As: Danazol, Danocrine
Danazol is a derivative of the synthetic steroid ethisterone, a modified testosterone. Also known as 17alpha-ethinyl testosterone. Before becoming available as a generic drug, Danazol was marketed as Danocrine in the United States. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as the first drug to specifically treat endometriosis in the early 1970s. Although effective for endometriosis, its use is limited by its masculinizing side-effects. Its role as a treatment for endometriosis has been largely replaced by the GnRH agonists.
Danazol has been used - mostly off-label - for other indications, namely in the management of menorrhagia, fibrocystic breast disease, immune thrombocytopenic purpura, breast pain (mastodynia) and hereditary angioedema. Though danazol prevents pregnancy, it is not licenced for use as a contraceptive agent.
Although not currently a standard treatment for menorrhagia, danazol has resulted in significant relief in young women with menorrhagia in a study, and, because of a lack of significant adverse effects, it was proposed as an alternative treatment.
Danazol inhibits ovarian steroidogenesis resulting in decreased secretion of estradiol and may increase androgens. Pituitary hormones are largely unaffected although luteinizing hormone (LH) may be slightly elevated.