Panel Recommends Against Hormone Therapy

Reuters (05/29/12) Seaman, Andrew M.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued preliminary recommendations on May 29 that state that women who have gone through menopause should not be given hormone therapy to stave off certain chronic conditions. The recommendations are based on a new analysis of nine "gold standard" studies published since 2002 that randomly assigned women to receive either hormone therapy or a placebo. The analysis, which was performed by researchers from Oregon Health & Science University, found that there are both risks and benefits when women take hormones to prevent some chronic conditions. For example, the analysis found that women who took the hormones progestin and estrogen had a 34 percent to 79 percent greater chance of suffering a stroke, contracting gallbladder disease, or developing urinary incontinence. The analysis also found that use of progestin and estrogen at the same time resulted in greater chances of "probable" dementia, invasive forms of breast cancer, and blood clots. However, the analysis also found that women who took progestin and estrogen together or estrogen alone had a reduced risk of breaking bones. The researchers who performed the analysis cautioned that their conclusions were only based on a few clinical trials, and that many of the women involved in those trials stopped taking hormones at some point during the studies. Researchers have also said that that the information is limited to women in their 60s.

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