USPSTF: Risks of HRT may still outweigh benefits

The Los Angeles Times reports, “Women who are past menopause and healthy should not take hormone replacement therapy in hopes of warding off dementia, bone fractures or heart disease, according to a new analysis by the” US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).

The recommendation “does not necessarily apply to women who take hormone replacement therapy to reduce menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness.

The balance of harms and benefits for that use is expected to be addressed in an imminent report by the federal government’s Office of Health Quality Research.”

HealthDay reports, “Updated evidence on hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women presents good news for those at risk of osteoporosis, but a mixed bag of results regarding breast cancer and other chronic diseases,” according to findings published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“While estrogen-only and estrogen-plus-progestin formulations reduce the risk of fractures, both increase the odds for stroke and other conditions including gallbladder disease, according to a new update of available evidence compiled for the” USPSTF.

“Conducted to inform a new set of US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations on hormone therapy, the review by Heidi Nelson, MD, MPH, of Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, and colleagues, found that every current HRT regimen carries significant risks that, for most women, probably outweigh the benefit,” MedPage Today reports.

Meanwhile, the Boston Globe “Daily Dose” blog reports, “A series of research reviews published last week in the journal Climacteric questions the wisdom of abandoning” hormone replacement therapy (HRT) “altogether.

As the journal’s editors in chief wrote, ‘an entire generation of younger doctors has never prescribed HRT,’ even to those who have dozens of hot flashes a day, drenched sleepless nights, and mood changes that often accompany these symptoms. What doctors should be doing, the editors wrote, is balancing the small risks of hormone use against the improved quality of life that a few years of hormone therapy might provide.”

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