Information on Hormone Replacement Therapy
Doctors have been telling women for decades that hormone replacement
therapy can restore youth by keeping the skin supple, boosting old
and brittle bones, possibly fighting off senile dementia, and reducing
the risks of heart disease. Cynthia Pearson, the executive director
of the National Women's Health Network, has been offended and skeptical
of the claims of everything hormone replacement therapy has been
advertised to do from the start. Not only did she find the message
of hormone replacement therapy sexist and ageist by delivering the
message "Stay young. Stay healthy. Stay sexually vital. Be
less of a pain to your husband", but she was appalled at Wyeth's
inability to have any real data supporting their claims that Premarin
hormone replacement therapy protects against heart disease.
The study ending after five years found, in fact, that just the
opposite was true. For years it was believed heart disease, the
number one killer in women, could be better prevented using hormone
replacement therapy, but the study showed new information that hormone
replacement therapy does not just fail to prevent heart disease,
but increases the risk of it. The speaker of the congress for the
American Academy of Family Physicians, Dr. Michael finds that "The
study results will have a tremendous effect . . . they overturn
something we've been preaching as 'preventive' for all these years.
All women need to be reevaluated and counseled."
New information on hormone replacement therapy drugs, estrogen
and progestin, have also been shown to not defy age as was previously
thought. The hormone replacement therapy study, described by the
executive director of the North American Menopause Society Dr. Wulf
Utian as "the biggest bombshell that ever hit in my 30-something
years in the menopause area", has provided skeptics with concrete
facts showing the dangers
of hormone replacement therapy. For years, debate over long-term
benefits and risks of hormone replacement therapy has continued.
Now, according to the founder of the International Organization
to Reclaim Menopause Vicki Meyer, "we need to accept menopause
as a natural, normal, physiological process."
There were more than 16,000 healthy American women that enrolled
in the estrogen / progestin study between the ages 50-79. Half of
the women were randomly assigned for hormone replacement therapy,
and the other half were given a placebo. Both the women and their
doctors had no idea which pill they were on. This hormone replacement
therapy study was the most rigorous type of investigation that is
known to conduct, called a double-bind, randomized, and controlled
trial. The results are certain, and the plan was for the study to
last eight years and to record information including how many suffered
from heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, hip fractures, or colon
cancer in that time.
There was a safety board to monitor the data in order to ensure
the study be stopped prior to 2005 if evidence showed the risks
of hormone replacement therapy obviously outweighed the benefits.
In late 1999, the monitoring board had seen an unexpected increase
in risk of blood clots and heart attacks in the group of women taking
hormone replacement therapy. The results were shocking because most
doctors were under the impression that hormone replacement therapy
protected against cardiovascular disease. While this evidence became
available, the study continued based on the reasoning that cardiovascular
benefits may take longer to appear. By spring 2002, the likelihood
of heart attacks and blood clots in the lungs and legs were present,
but also an increased risk of breast cancer surfaced. It was after
that finding that the study was then terminated.
Hormone replacement therapy first became popular
forty years ago when Robert Wilson thought estrogen served as an
all-purpose rejuvenator for women that had reached a certain age.
From the start menopause was described as "living decay"
by Wilson, and while the view on women has changed over the years
to a lesser sexist and ageist standard, the idea that these hormone
pills can reverse the signs of aging was so appealing that the number
one manufacturer of hormone replacement therapy drug Prempro was
able to aggressively market the pill. Now the number one selling
hormone replacement therapy pill, Prempro and related product Premphase
generated more than $2 billion in sales last year, and another estrogen
replacement therapy Premarin sales were $1.3 billion last year.
Wyeth is now taking measures to seek legal experts to defend their
company in the high number of lawsuits expected to emerge from the
news on their estrogen/progestin pill Prempro that accounts for
15% of their revenue.
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