WASHINGTON – A national board of doctors Monday recommended that post-menopausal women not take hormone replacement therapy to prevent chronic disease, as the health risks that HRT poses outweigh its likely benefits.
The statement, from the United States Preventive Services Task Force, confirms a similar recommendation the panel made in 2005. The statement was posted on the online edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The task forces review of research published since 2005 showed that combined estrogen and progestin therapy after menopause reduces the risk of bone fractures. But women taking that combined HRT do not decrease their risk of heart disease, and they are actually at increased risk of breast cancer, stroke, blood clots, gallbladder disease, dementia and urinary incontinence.
A task force fact sheet posted on the groups website said that for every 10,000 women who use combined therapy each year, 46 may avoid a fracture. But eight may develop breast cancer, nine may have a stroke, nine may develop a serious blood clot in their lungs, 12 may develop a serious blood clot in their legs, 20 may develop gallbladder disease, 22 may develop dementia and 872 may develop urinary incontinence.
The group said it was addressing only the use of HRT for chronic disease.