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Arquivos de Medicina

On-line version ISSN 2183-2447


LUCAS, Raquel. Safety of hormone replacement therapy : a review. Arq Med [online]. 2006, vol.20, n.5-6, pp.179-182. ISSN 2183-2447.

The recent publication of a number of large observational and experimental studies that assessed the safety of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) raised a generalised debate. These studies were conducted during a period of clear and rapid expansion of HRT in almost every country, and provided alarming associations between this therapy and several frequent chronic diseases. Subsequently to these findings, a substantial drop in the volume of prescriptions was observed internationally. However, many of the findings of these studies had already been suggested previously. Moreover, a number of methodological issues concerning the recent studies was raised and the validity of their associations questioned. The current absence of clear-cut guidelines on the use of HRT is probably a consequence of the conflicting evidence. In the Portuguese population this may partially account for the notorious lack of association between this therapy and hysterectomy or oophorectomy. Additionally, although sales data seemed to indicate an increasing trend in the prevalence of HRT up to 2002, the uptake of HRT was then a privilege of women in higher socioeconomic strata. Presently, the contribution of long-term hormone replacement therapy to women’s health remains unclear and this subject increasingly demands a multidisciplinary approach.

Keywords : hormone replacement therapy; medicine safety; research design; review.

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