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HRT worthwhile at right age - experts

Tuesday May 22nd, 2012

Hormone replacement therapy continues to benefit women when given at the right time, experts say today.

HRT treatment was largely abandoned ten years ago after conclusive evidence emerged that women taking it for long periods experienced more risks than benefits.

The treatment had been promoted as a way of promoting bone health and preventing heart disease.

The analysis published today by some of the original researchers argues that women undergoing the menopause do gain widespread benefits from treatment.

The findings are published in the journal Climacteric, the journal of the International Menopause Society.

The experts say the studies that were completed ten years ago, such as the US Women's Health Initiative, showed that HRT did not benefit elderly women who were on average 12 years past the menopause.

But this was wrongly "generalised" as applying also at the time of the menopause.

Dr Robert Langer, of the Jackson Hole Center for Preventive Medicine, Jackson Wyoming, USA, a key researcher in the Women's Health Initiative, said: "In some ways we’ve come full circle – studies in recently menopausal women that suggested protection against major diseases led to testing whether that would carry over to older women who have even greater risks of heart attacks and fractures.

"That hope proved false. Unfortunately the results were wrongly generalised back to women like those who inspired the study.

"Information that has emerged over the last decade, shows that for most women starting treatment near the menopause, the benefits outweigh the risks, not just for relief of hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness, but also for reducing the risks of heart disease and fractures."

Have we come full circle-or moved forward? The Women’s Health Initiative 10 years on. R.D Langer, J.E Manson, and M.A. Allison, Climacteric June 2012; Vol 15 no 3 pp206-213

Tags: Heart Health | North America | Orthopaedics | Pharmaceuticals | Women’s Health & Gynaecology

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1At 23/05/2012 03:22pm Editor wrote

We had a lot of discussion about this issue ten years ago on a special site we set up. You can read what people were saying ten years ago here and later comments recorded here

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