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Questionable Safety of Bio-Identical Hormones

Posted Feb 20 2009 7:23pm

The Women’s Health Initiative results made headlines in 2002 -  hormone replacement therapy was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, stroke and hearts attacks in postmenopausal women.  Ever since then there has been an ongoing debate about whether hormone replacement theray should be used to control menopausal symptoms.  Many women are fearful and many healthcare providers reluctant to prescribe hormone therapy.

Makers of bio-identical hormones claim their products are identical to hormones produced by our bodies, and are safer and more effective than conventional hormone replacement therapy.  I have recently seen several guests on TV talk shows recommending bio-identical hormones. What women need to keep in mind is that none of the claims/benefits of bio-identical hormones are supported by reliable scientific data.

The FDA has not approved any bio-identical hormone and does not regulate the manufacturing of these drugs.  At this point in time the FDA states that with the existing knowledge available bio-identical hormones probably have the same risks as other hormone replacement medications. Women need to be informed and discuss all options with their physician - hormone replacement therapy is only recommended to control severe menopausal symptoms (lowest dose for the shortest duration of time).

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