Hormone Therapy Not Useful for Chronic Disease Prevention

(HealthDay News) – An extended follow-up of two hormone therapy trials in postmenopausal women has shown that the benefits of hormone therapy do not outweigh the risks, although it may be useful for symptom management, according to a study published in the Oct. 2 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

JoAnn E. Manson, MD, DrPH, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues analyzed outcomes from two Women’s Health Initiative hormone therapy trials of postmenopausal women. In the first, 16,608 women with an intact uterus were randomly assigned to placebo or conjugated equine estrogens (CEE) plus medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA). In the second, 10,739 women with a prior hysterectomy were randomly assigned to placebo or CEE.

During 13 years of cumulative follow up, the researchers found that the risks outweighed the benefits in the CEE plus MPA trial, with an increased risk of coronary heart disease, invasive breast cancer, and other outcomes, but a decreased risk of hip fractures, diabetes, and vasomotor symptoms. The risks and benefits were more balanced for the CEE trial. Neither treatment had an effect on all-cause mortality. Both trials showed mixed results for quality of life.

“Findings from the intervention and extended post-intervention follow-up of the two Women’s Health Initiative hormone therapy trials do not support use of this therapy for chronic disease prevention, although it is appropriate for symptom management in some women,” Manson and colleagues conclude.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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