Final data for estrogen-only hormone replacement


Final data from WHI’s estrogen-only arm published

Estrogen-only hormone therapy for postmenopausal women does not affect coronary heart disease but increases the risk of stroke by 39% while decreasing the risk of hip fracture by 39%, according to a study published in the April 7 Journal of the American Medical Association.

Therapy was also associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, although this was not statistically significant, but no increased risk of pulmonary embolism or colorectal cancer was detected. Total cardiovascular disease was increased by 12% and all fractures were decreased by 30%.

“These findings confirm that estrogen-alone therapy should not be used to prevent chronic disease,” said Barbara Alving, MD, Women’s Health Initiative director and acting director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

The National Institutes of Health announced in March that the estrogen-only arm of the WHI was being suspended because of an unacceptable risk of stroke. The combination estrogen-progestin arm was stopped in July 2002.

Bottom-line – hormone replacement therapy should not be used for prevention of any chronic disease. Use of hormone replacement for greater than five years is not recommended. If you fall into this category, discuss tapering off with your physician.

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