Legal Articles

May 11, 2013

Hormone replacement therapy: benefits and side effects

Hormone replacement therapy is a treatment often used to ease the intensity of menopausal symptoms. And while it is a well-known fact that long-term use of this therapy poses health risks, going off the medication may also have risks, according to a new study. The study authors found that stopping the medication can “lead to a return of menopausal symptoms and increased risk for high blood pressure.”

Estrogen and progesterone are used

The hormones most often included in hormone replacement therapy are estrogen and progesterone, which hormones have been proven to treat menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and trouble sleeping.

The study, funded by Pfizer, the manufacturer of Prempro and Premarin hormone replacement, followed 310 postmenopausal women aged 56 to 73 who had been taking the therapy for five or more years. It found that while on the hormones, women were more likely to be employed, have less sick days, and had lower blood pressure. After it was discovered that there were negative side effects associated with the therapy, however, many people stopped taking it.

Menopause symptoms affect quality of life

Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, medical director of the Midlife Health Center at the University of Virgina, said after stopping the therapy, 1 out of 4 restarted because “they were having severe symptoms affecting quality of life.” She also said, “Just as the decision to go on hormones is dependent on many factors, the decision to go off and stay off can be individualized.”


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