Hormone Replacement Therapy May Not Be As Risky As Once Thought

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Hormone replacement therapy for women may not be as potentially risky as previously thought.
Hormone replacement therapy for women may not be as potentially risky as previously thought.

Hormone replacement therapy for women may not be as potentially risky as previously thought, a new Mayo Clinic review contends.

The findings were scheduled to be presented at the annual meeting of The Endocrine Society, held in San Diego.

The new Mayo Clinic study combines the data from 43 randomized, controlled trials on hormone therapy. The trials included more than 52,000 women. All were 50 or older.

The researchers found that neither of the main hormone therapies -- estrogen alone, or estrogen combined with progesterone -- affected a woman's risk of dying from any cause, or specifically from a heart attack, stroke, or cancer.

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"This is the latest update of the current evidence," lead author Khalid Benkhadra, M.D., a research fellow at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., told HealthDay. "I can say there's no risk of dying from any reason because a woman is taking hormone replacement therapy."

"This study may provide some comfort that it shouldn't shorten your life, but it doesn't change the concern that the bad effects of hormone therapy are going to be an issue," Len Lichtenfeld, M.D., deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, told HealthDay.

Until further research is conducted, doctors and patients should stick to the strategy recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Lichtenfeld said. 

That strategy calls for "the lowest dose of hormone replacement therapy for the shortest period of time," and only for severe menopause symptoms, he said.

Reference

  1. Benkhadra, Khalid, MD, et al." Menopausal Hormone Therapy and Mortality: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis." ENDO 2015. Poster Board FRI-125. March 6, 2015.

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