More Guidance For Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormone therapy not for disease prevention: study

About 81% continued follow-up after the planned end of the trials. Findings from a comprehensive analysis of 13 years of cumulative data were published on October 2, 2013, in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Women who took estrogen plus progestin had rates of overall illness (such as coronary heart disease, stroke, breast cancer, blood clots in the lungs, colorectal cancer, endometrial cancer, and hip fracture) and death that were 12% higher than women who took placebo pills. In absolute terms, there were 20 more major illnesses or deaths per year for every 10,000 women taking the hormone therapy than for those taking placebo. After the women stopped taking the hormone therapy, there were no lasting effects on overall illness and death. Women who took estrogen alone had overall rates of illness and death similar to those for women who took placebo pills.
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Three mature women walking on a windy beach.

That risk also fell once women stopped taking estrogen. However, women who only took estrogen were less likely to develop breast cancer over the entire study period than those in the placebo group. Considering all the evidence, the researchers write that estrogen plus progesterone or estrogen alone should not be used to prevent chronic disease. That advice jibes with the government-backed U.S. Preventive Services Task Force’s recommendation against taking hormone therapy for the prevention of chronic disease (see Reuters story of October 22, 2012 here: The researchers add, however, that hormone therapy is a “reasonable option for the management of moderate to severe menopausal symptoms among generally healthy women during early menopause.” Manson said probably fewer than one in 100 younger women taking hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms over five years would develop a health problem as a result. “For some women who are experiencing the symptoms of menopause, the quality-of-life benefits may outweigh the risks,” Dr.
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