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EDITIONS
 Friday, 10 January, 2003, 15:25 GMT
HRT slump after scare
Hand holding capsule
Millions of women take HRT
Thousands of women in the US are shunning HRT after research linked its long-term use to an increased risk of heart disease.

HRT involving combinations of oestrogen and progestin were found to raise the risk of heart disease, blood clots and strokes.

In effect, the findings meant that for over 10,000 women on this type of HRT, you would expect seven more women to have heart attacks and eight more to suffer strokes and eight more to contract breast cancer.

A survey of more than 370,000 users of various types of HRT found that while 57% of women said they were continuing with combination HRT, the rest had either changed brands or stopped using HRT altogether.

The survey findings were released a day after the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) required that all HRT containing oestrogen had to be accompanied by warning labels.

Complete stop

More than a fifth of those questioned had stopped using any therapy containing oestrogen, and were not taking anything else to ward off brittle bone disease.

This is more than double the normal discontinuation rate found over the same period.

This is despite the fact that the study found no extra risks for women taking only oestrogen.

Similar figures for UK use in the wake of the research are not available - but as the results were widely publicised in this country, could well be similar.

Raulo Frear, from Express Scripts, which carried out the survey, said: "Now that the longer-term risk of using HRT combination products is better understood, large numbers of women and their physicians acted promptly to avoid HRT and reduce their risk."

Millions of users

HRT is taken by millions of UK women - and this type of combination HRT by an estimated 300,000 at the time of the US study.

The therapy helps reduce menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, and reduce the risk of both osteoporosis and colon cancer.

See also:

25 Oct 02 | Health
20 Sep 02 | Health
15 Jul 02 | Talking Point
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