Evidence Updated for Impact of Menopausal Hormone Therapy

Updated review mainly based on evidence from 11 years of follow-up in Women's Health Initiative

TUESDAY, May 29 (HealthDay News) -- An updated review clarifies the impact of menopausal hormone therapy on the risk of chronic conditions, according to research published online May 28 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

To update the evidence regarding hormone therapy's efficacy in reducing risk for chronic conditions and adverse effects, Heidi D. Nelson, M.D., M.P.H., from the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, and colleagues reviewed the relevant literature published since 2002.

Nine fair-quality trials were eligible for inclusion; the Women's Health Initiative, with 11 years of follow-up, reported most of the results. The researchers found that use of estrogen plus progestin was associated with an increase in invasive breast cancer, stroke, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, lung cancer death, gallbladder disease, dementia, and urinary incontinence; the combination was, however, associated with a reduction in fractures. Use of estrogen-only therapy correlated with reduced fractures and reduced invasive breast cancer incidence and mortality, as well as with increased stroke, deep vein thrombosis, gallbladder disease, and urinary incontinence. There was no significant difference in the outcomes based on age or comorbidity.

"Continuing research is needed on such long-term outcomes as cancer and death to fully understand the implications of hormone therapy," the authors write.

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