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Women Heeding Message on Hormone Therapy

HRT use declines after release of results of two long-term studies

TUESDAY, Feb. 3, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Findings from two long-term studies on hormone replacement therapy led to a decline in its use, says a report in the Feb. 3 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Researchers studied the use of hormone therapy, both before and after the study results were released, among women in San Francisco who had mammograms between 1997 and 2003.

One 1998 study found hormone replacement therapy did not protect against heart disease. The second study, in 2002, found women who took hormone therapy had a higher risk for breast cancer and heart disease than women who did not take it.

There was a temporary, modest decline in hormone therapy use following the release of data from the HERS study in 1998. Before that, the use of hormone therapy was about 41 percent in the study group, and was increasing by a rate of 1 percent per quarter. After publication of the HERS study, hormone therapy use decreased by 1 percent per quarter.

Following release of the second study, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) use among the study group declined by 18 percent per quarter.

The study didn't answer why this decline occurred. But the authors and an editorial in the journal suggest that widespread news coverage of the findings of the two studies may have been a factor.

On Tuesday, Swedish researchers reported they had halted the latest major HRT trial, this one involving women who had had breast cancer. The trial was stopped because the risks of a recurrence of cancer were judged to be too great, the researchers said.

The finding prompted the head of the American Cancer Society to say it would be "unwise" to provide HRT to women with a history of breast cancer.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about hormone replacement therapy.

SOURCE: American College of Physicians, news release, Feb. 2, 2004
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