Since publication of initial findings of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) in 2002, use of systemic menopausal hormone therapy (HT) has declined by some 80% among US women.1 Against this backdrop, this year’s Menopause Update highlights the “hot off the press” updated position statement on menopausal HT from The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), summarized by Dr. JoAnn V. Pinkerton. Although this guidance is chock full of practical, evidence-based guidance, the take-home message that Dr. Pinkerton and I would like to leave readers of OBG Management with is that for women with bothersome menopausal symptoms aged in their 50s or within 10 years of the onset of menopause who are free of contraindications, use of systemic HT is appropriate.
Dr. Andrew M. Kaunitz on prescribing systemic HT to older women
Although menopausal vasomotor and related symptoms improve as women age, in untreated women, vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA, also known as genitourinary syndrome of menopause, or GSM) tends to progress, causing vaginal dryness and sexual dysfunction, among other symptoms. When symptomatic GSM represents the only indication for treatment, low-dose local vaginal estrogen, ospemifene, or dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA; prasterone) is safe and effective. However, as with systemic HT, specific treatments for GSM are substantially underutilized.2 The current package labeling for low-dose vaginal estrogen deters many appropriate candidates from using this safe, effective treatment. In this Update, Dr. JoAnn E. Manson reviews the rationale for updating this labeling as well as recent efforts to accomplish the task.