Task Force Recommends Against Hormone Replacement Therapy for Postmenopausal Women

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A government task force is reinforcing a recommendationthat hormone replacement therapy (HRT) should not be used in postmenopausal women for the prevention of chronic conditions such as heart disease, fractures and dementia.

In 2012, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) said the risks of HRT (involving estrogen, progestin or both) outweighed the benefits. While the task force found that estrogen and progestin after menopause can reduce risk of fractures, they also foundthat the combination can increase the risk of breast cancer, stroke, blood clots, gallbladder disease, dementia and urinary incontinence.

The USPSTF also found that taking estrogen alone after menopause — a choice only for women who have had a hysterectomy — reduces the risk of fractures, as well as breast cancer. However, estrogen-only therapy can increase the risk of stroke, blood clots, gallbladder disease and urinary incontinence.

The American Heart Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend against the use of hormone therapy for prevention of coronary heart disease. The American Academy of Family Physicians also recommends against the use of hormone therapy for prevention of any chronic condition.

Jonathan Block

Jonathan Block is a freelance writer and former MedShadow content editor. He has been an editor and writer for multiple pharmaceutical, health and medical publications, including BioCentury, The Pink Sheet, Modern Healthcare, Health Plan Week and Psychiatry Advisor. He holds a BA from Tufts University and is earning an MPH with a focus on health policy from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy.

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