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Hormone therapy not linked with premature mortality

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Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension.

September 11 2017. An article published on September 12, 2017 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) concluded that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) prescribed to women for menopausal complaints had no association with a greater risk of death from cardiovascular disease or any cause over an 18 year period. The study is the first to examine long-term rates of death among women receiving HRT.

Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital examined data from 27,347 women enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative trials that evaluated the effects of estrogen plus progestin, or estrogen alone in postmenopausal women. The trials included 5 to 7 years of treatment and a subsequent 10-12 years of follow-up.

Over the follow-up period, there were 7,489 deaths, which was twice the number documented in earlier reports with shorter follow-up times. Younger women who received HRT had fewer deaths in comparison with older participants who received treatment. Among women aged 50-59 years who received HRT, death rates averaged 30% lower than a placebo during the treatment period. Hormone replacement therapy had no association with mortality among women who initiated treatment in their 60s and 70s. At 18 years, deaths associated with dementia were lower in the group treated with estrogen only than those who received a placebo.

“In this new analysis, we found that there was no association between hormone therapy and all-cause mortality during either the treatment period or the long-term follow-up of these trials,” reported lead author JoAnn Manson, MD, DrPH, who is the Chief of Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Division of Preventive Medicine.

“All-cause mortality provides a critically important summary measure for an intervention such as hormone therapy that has a complex matrix of benefits and risks,” she noted. “Mortality rates are the ultimate ‘bottom line’ when assessing the net effect of a medication on serious and life-threatening health outcomes.”

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