Primary Care Medical Abstracts

Abstract: Please don't give hormone therapy a D recommendation or state that "harms far outweigh benefits for prevention of chronic disease"


Pinkerton, J. V., et al, Menopause 24(10):1099, October 2017

The authors, writing for the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), protest the recent guideline recommendations regarding postmenopausal hormone therapy (HT) from the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). The USPSTF draft guidance gives HT (both combined regimens and estrogen alone) a D recommendation for preventing chronic disease because of harms outweighing benefits. The NAMS panel contends that the USPSTF opinion does not distinguish between approved and unapproved indications for HT. They note that the conclusions are based on the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) trial, from which certain patient populations who may benefit (bothersome hot flashes, high osteoporosis risk, genitourinary symptoms) were omitted. The WHI tested a single dose of a single formulation in women having an average age of 63 who were 13 years past menopause. According to NAMS, the USPSTF should acknowledge that HT relieves vasomotor symptoms, helps prevent bone loss and fracture, and may improve quality of life in women younger than 60 years who take HT within ten years of menopause. Women younger than 60 years who have had a hysterectomy benefit from early estrogen monotherapy, having a lower incidence of breast cancer, cardiovascular disease and mortality. Further, the panel feels that the USPSTF should state that the findings of harm were based on higher-dose formulations, and that the results may not apply to lower doses, different and newer formulations (e.g., natural progesterone, bazedoxifene), and different dosing routes (e.g., transdermal administration). NAMS agrees that HT does not prevent heart disease, but indicates that its use (and insurance coverage) should not be precluded for women with early menopause, bothersome hot flashes, genitourinary symptoms and/or a high risk of fracture. 12 references

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