From Reuters Health Information

Hormone Replacement Beneficial in Younger Postmenopausal Women

By David Douglas

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Nov 12 – Pooled data from controlled trials involving more than 16,000 women indicate that hormone replacement therapy reduces mortality in younger postmenopausal women, researchers report in the November issue of The American Journal of Medicine.

As lead investigator Dr. Shelley R. Saltpeter told Reuters Health, “The main conclusion is that hormone replacement therapy for younger postmenopausal women — those that are generally treated in real life — is associated with greater benefit than risk.”

Dr. Saltpeter of Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, San Jose, California, and colleagues base this conclusion on their meta-analysis of 19 randomized, controlled trials and 8 observational studies. All involved women with a mean age of less than 60 years and lasted for at least 6 months.

In the randomized trials, after 83,000 patient-years, the relative risk of mortality with hormone therapy was 0.73.

The researchers then went on to examine pooled data from the observational studies, which followed more than 200,000 women for an average of 14 years. The relative risk of mortality with hormone therapy was 0.78.

From this synthesis of the data, say the investigators, “we can see that the results from observational studies and randomized trials are remarkably similar, both showing reductions in total mortality of approximately 25%.

The authors add that these findings need to be interpreted in the light of potential benefits and harms of hormone therapy. However, Dr. Saltpeter concluded, “Women who go through the menopausal transition have improvement in quality of life measures and also live longer, when given hormone replacement.”

Am J Med 2009;122:1016-1022.

Reuters Health Information © 2009

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