More bad news for HRT users

I’m sure you probably heard the reports this week about the newest setback for the combined hormone replacement therapy (HRT) of estrogen-progestin. The Women’s Health Initiative study was stopped short one year ago when it became clear that estrogen-progestin increased the risk of breast cancer, heart attack, and strokes. But research using the data from that study goes on, and the latest findings are nothing less than a disaster.

Examining records of more than 16,000 women, researchers concluded that combined HRT tends to make breast cancer tumors more aggressive and harder to detect, reducing the chances for successful treatment.

If this were an ocean liner, the lifeboats would already be a mile away from the ship.

A spokesman for Wyeth Pharmaceuticals (the makers of Prempro, the brand name for estrogen-progestin) told the Associated Press that hormone therapy remains “an appropriate therapy when used at the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time.”

Is that an absolute gem of drug company double-speak? That’s about as close as you can get to saying, “Stop using it.” Which may be the best advice for the 3 million U.S. women who still are.

To Your Good Health,

Jenny Thompson
Health Sciences Institute

“HRT Linked to Aggressive Tumors” Associated Press, 6/24/03,