The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently launched a nationwide information campaign to “raise awareness about the recent findings on the risks and benefits of menopausal hormone therapy.”
It is estimated that more than 10 million American women use hormone replacement therapies such as estrogens or estrogens with progestins. While it was previously believed that these hormones could protect against many illnesses, newer research is disproving this notion. In fact, recent studies have been halted when these hormones were found to be generally more harmful than beneficial.
The FDA acknowledges that menopausal hormone therapy may have some benefit in reducing hot flashes, treating vaginal dryness, and slowing bone loss, but urges that these benefits be weighed against “the recent findings of increased risk of heart disease, strokes, breast cancer, and other serious health concerns associated with the use of these therapies.”
The FDA has modified the approved indications for menopausal hormone therapies to clarify that these drugs should be used “only when the benefits clearly outweigh the risks.”
“Postmenopausal hormone ther apy is a major personal decision for women, and they should be armed with the latest key facts and useful tools to make the best decision for their needs,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Mark McClellan said at a news conference.
“It is very important that women realize that this beneficial therapy also carries significant risks,” said McClellan. “Our recommendation is that if you choose to use hormone therapy for hot flashes or vaginal dryness, or if you prefer it to other treatments to prevent thin bones, take the lowest dose for the least duration required to provide relief.”
Editor’s Note: The Life Extension Foundation first warned against the dangers of hormone replacement therapy years ago.