Publication Abstract

Authors: Rolnick SJ, Kopher RA, DeFor TA, Kelley ME

Title: Hormone use and patient concerns after the findings of the Women's Health Initiative.

Journal: Menopause 12(4):399-404

Date: 2005 Jul-Aug

Abstract: OBJECTIVE: To assess behaviors and concerns related to hormone therapy after the findings of the Women's Health Initiative (WHI). DESIGN: A survey was mailed to a random sample of 1,200 women identified through the pharmacy database as taking one of two estrogen + progestogen therapies (EPT) during the 6-month period before the publication of WHI findings. Questions included hormone use history, changes in usage, an assessment of symptoms, symptom changes, health behavior changes, use of alternative therapies, and demographics. RESULTS: The response rate was 70%, with women in their 60s and those receiving hormone therapy for 5 or more years were more likely to respond (P < 0.05). The majority had started hormones for symptom relief (69%) and expected to continue use. Many reported discontinuation (63%) or modifying their medication (18%). Half of these women stopped then restarted, the other half changed products. Women in their 50s were more likely to remain on hormones than older women (P < 0.01), and those taking ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone acetate were more likely to remain on their medication than those on conjugated estrogens (43% vs 29%, P < 0.01). Little change was reported in exercise and 19% increased their calcium intake. Patient concerns fell into five major categories: long-term effects, symptom control, breast cancer risk, bone health, and cognitive function. CONCLUSIONS: Women seem to be heeding the warnings about hormones but remain concerned about the potential long-term sequelae and symptom control. More research is needed to identify safer approaches to symptom relief and to address the concerns expressed.