Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been under considerable scrutiny since 2002 when a large US government study, the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) reported that HRT, specifically the combination of estrogen and progestin together, increased the risk for blood clots, stroke, breast cancer and heart attacks.
The WHI, which consisted of three clinical trials and an observational study, was conducted to address major health issues causing morbidity and mortality in postmenopausal women. The study was stopped early by the researchers and they concluded that the risks of HRT outweighed the benefits.
Although the WHI study was designed to evaluate the role of HRT in the prevention of diseases related to aging, many women and their doctors also abandoned HRT as therapy for menopausal symptoms.
Additional research over the past 10 years, has found shown that the level of risk with HRT depends on the individual woman, her health history, age, and the number of years since her menopause began. It is women below the age 60 years and recently started menopause, who are at a lower risk when taking low doses of HRT compared with women over 60.
The paper by Manson JE, Chlebowski RT, Stefanick ML, et al.(1) published in the October 3, 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, sets out to report a comprehensive, integrated overview of findings from the two WHI hormone therapy trials with extended postintervention follow-up.
1 Manson JE, Chlebowski RT, Stefanick ML, et al. Menopausal hormone therapy and health outcomes during the intervention and extended poststopping phases of the Women’s Health Initiative randomized trials. JAMA. 2013;310(13):1353-1368
International Menopause Society (IMS)
The North American Menopause Society (NAMS)
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