Women who use postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be at increased risk of acute pancreatitis, found a new study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
Acute pancreatitis, a sudden inflammation of the pancreas, has symptoms that range from mild discomfort to severe, debilitating pain and may, in some cases, even lead to death.
Although several case reports have indicated that there may be an association between use of HRT and risk of acute pancreatitis, the evidence from large studies is sparse. To understand whether there is an association, the researchers looked at data on 31 494 Swedish postmenopausal women aged 48 years at the start of the 13-year study from 1997 to 2010. At the start of the study, 13 113 (42%) of the women were current users of HRT, 3660 (12%) were previous users, and the remainder had never used the therapy. Of the current users of HRT, 6795 (52%) used systemic therapy for hot flashes, 4148 (32%) used local therapy for vaginal dryness, and 2170 (16%) used both therapies.