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Hormone Therapy May Lower Mortality in Younger Women

Researchers suggest also taking into account the benefits, harms of therapy in patient management

FRIDAY, Nov. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Younger postmenopausal women on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may have a lower risk of mortality than women undergoing no treatment, according to the results of a Bayesian meta-analysis published in the November issue of the American Journal of Medicine.

Shelley R. Salpeter, M.D., of Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., and colleagues, included the pooled results from 19 randomized trials that evaluated HRT in more than 16,000 women (mean age, 55 years) in their meta-analysis. The trials followed the women for a total of 83,000 patient-years.

The researchers found that there were 156 deaths (1.80 percent) in 8,689 women in the HRT group and 211 deaths (2.64 percent) in 7,594 women in the no-treatment group. The mortality relative risk was 0.73. When the researchers added data from eight observational studies (which followed 200,000 women) to their analysis, the relative risk was 0.72. The researchers determined that the posterior probability that HRT decreased mortality in younger postmenopausal women was nearly one.

"The synthesis of data using Bayesian meta-analysis indicates a reduction in mortality in younger postmenopausal women taking hormone therapy compared with no treatment," the authors conclude. "This finding should be interpreted taking into account the potential benefits and harms of hormone therapy."

One author reported consulting relationships with law firms representing Wyeth Pharmaceuticals on issues involving HRT, and another author reported a consulting relationship with GlaxoSmithKline.

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