Add another item to the list of hormone replacement drug risks

Add another item to the list of hormone replacement drug risks

I’m starting to think that until the end of our days we’ll continue to get new reports about adverse side effects linked to hormone replacement therapy drugs.

If you’ve been keeping score (and if you’re a women who’s reached menopause I’m sure you have), the combined use of estrogen plus progestin has been linked to a variety of deadly side effects such as blood clots, stroke, various cancers (including lung and breast tumors), dementia, and heart disease.

That’s quite a lineup. Especially for a drug that’s still on the market!

But now it’s time to get out your scorecard and add a new item to the list: brain shrinkage.

According to an Ivanhoe Newswire report, researchers at the National Institute on Aging analyzed clinical trial data and found that women taking estrogen (with or without progestin) had smaller brain volume in the hippocampus compared to women who took placebo.

Of course, this side effect is certainly linked to increased dementia risk, given that the hippocampus is the part of the brain that processes memory and thinking.

Call me an optimist, but I still hold out hope that these reports will come to a stop someday when HRT drugs are finally taken off the market.

“Hormone Therapy Linked to Brain Shrinkage but Not Stroke” Ivanhoe Newswire, 1/14/09,