Sunday, December 18, 2005

Estrogen Study Flawed

A 2002 study showing that hormone replacement therapy raises the risk of heart disease and breast cancer -- scaring many women away from the drugs -- was fundamentally flawed, according to new research.

"Women are now being told not to take hormones for heart disease prevention, and that may be totally wrong," said Dr. Edward Klaiber, a Worcester, Massachusetts endocrinologist and lead author of the study to be published on Friday in the journal Fertility and Sterility

Here we go again. I think we, the public, are beginning to get tired of having to decipher test results that the mainsteam media may report accurately while, at the same time, they, unfortunately, lack a critical eye as to study significance.

It should be noted, criticism of the original work is not new.

The new review is basically a rehash of previous criticisms, said Dr. Nieca Goldberg, chief of women's cardiac care at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City"It's a critique," she said. "It has no new information."

"Many of these issues were brought up a couple years ago," she added. "In order for them to prove any of these other things -- such as other forms [of HRT] would be better -- they need to do a study." Goldberg said Klaiber's article won't change the way she practices.

Klaiber agreed that more study is needed. He said one study, currently underway, is evaluating the worth of earlier intervention with hormones as a way to protect the heart.

So, what to do, now?

Klaiber said he's convinced that transdermal estrogen, given in patch form, is superior to oral estrogen. "Oral estrogen passes through the liver and stimulates the blood-clotting factors too much, leading to heart attacks," he said. Not every woman who uses oral hormones will get a heart attack, he emphasized, but women who already have cardiovascular problems might be at raised risk.

Until more studies are done on other forms of therapy, Klaiber said, "the best evidence we have comes from the earlier studies." And those include regimens of estrogen and non-continuous progestin, he said.

If you desire estrogen therapy, it might be time to talk to your doctor, again.

_Medication _Heart-General

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