Low Dose HRT Works
With any medicine, it's always best to take the lowest effective dose. This
aims to give similar benefits with fewer side effects. Birth control pills
are now available with doses of estrogen one-fifth of what they were when they
first came out on the market. Now, according to the journal Fertility
and Sterility (June 2001), women considering estrogen replacement therapy
should know that a new low dose combination of estrogen and progestin worked
just as well as higher doses did, with fewer side effects. This information
comes from the Women's HOPE (Health, Osteoporosis, Progestin and Estrogen) study
which took place at 57-sites with more than 2,600 healthy, postmenopausal women.
study, some women received pills containing the most common estrogen dosage,
0.625 mg a day with different progestin doses. Other women were given combinations
of progestin and two lower estrogen doses. One report states that combining
1.5 mg of progestin with 0.45 mg or 0.3 mg of estrogen daily was as effective
as higher doses in reducing hot flashes and preventing thinning of the vaginal
lining, which causes infections and painful intercourse for many older women.
The other report shows the same low-dose combinations worked about as well as
higher doses in preventing ``breakthrough'' bleeding, the main reason many women
stop hormone therapy.]
This low-dose information is particularly important news--and a welcome development
in the ongoing debate over the benefits and risks of hormone replacement therapy.
This will also be welcome news to women who have had bothersome side effects
from higher dose HRT preparations--such as as irregular bleeding, bloating or
breast tenderness. Women who take HRT who don't have any side effects should
probably continue taking their current dose, but they may want to ask their
doctors if they should switch to a lower dose at some point in the future.
currently no low-dose forms of HRT which combine estrogen and progestin in one
pill, but one is currently being reviewed by the FDA and may be on the market
by year's end.
For more information, click here.
Created: 7/30/2001  - Donnica Moore, M.D.