Blog | Monday, October 1, 2012

QD: News Every Day--Women still on hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms

Nearly 1 in 10 doctors still prescribes hormone replacement therapy (HRT) a decade years after the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) was halted when the risks exceeded the benefits, a survey found.

The WHI trial of hormone replacement therapy was halted when women who were randomized to receive estrogen plus progestin had higher rates of stroke, venous thromboembolism, breast cancer and coronary heart disease than those on placebo.

In its article, ACP Internist sources pointed out that in the years since, physicians, researchers and women have been experimenting with alternative solutions to the problems of menopause, including non-oral hormone formulations, smaller doses and non-hormonal therapies.
ACP Internist conducted the survey online throughout the month of September as part of its coverage of changing trends and developments in menopause. In total, 9.68% of respondents said they prescribed HRT all or most of the time.

The rest prescribed them some of the time, rarely or never, with one physician specifying prescribing them only for severe symptoms that don't improve with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

And 7.4% of women were still receiving HRT in 2009, the article reported. Likely, some doctors weren't staying on top of newer regimens and others were likely women who'd been in HRT successfully all along and were reluctant to change.

This is the group that needs encouragement to try lower-dose regimens first, experts said. Here's some easy ways to communicate that message.