Oral hormone therapy pills double clot risk
Menopausal women who take hormone-replacement therapy pills more than double their risk of developing a potentially fatal blood clot, French researchers said.
Blood clots in the arteries are a common cause of heart attacks and strokes. Vein blood clots can kill if they move through the body to the lungs.
“This meta-analysis ... showed that current use of oral oestrogen increases the risk of (blood clots) by two-fold to three-fold,” Pierre-Yves Scarabin and Marianne Canonico of the Paul Brousse Hospital in France wrote.
Hormone-replacement therapy relieves serious menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and was popular until a 2002 study suggested it could raise the risk of breast and ovarian cancer along with strokes and other serious conditions.
The findings spurred millions of women to abandon the drugs, hitting shares in makers of hormone therapies such as Wyeth.
Other experts, however, see that study as flawed and earlier this week issued a statement saying their review of dozens of studies found HRT is safe for early menopause and does not raise the risk of heart disease for women aged 50 to 59.
Earlier trials had also linked the drugs to blood clots but the French review marks the first systematic meta-analysis - a look at what many different studies have found - to assess how big the increased risk actually is.
“Although this relative risk is raised in hormone users when compared to non-users, the absolute risk is indeed very small as blood clots do not often occur in this age group in healthy women on no treatment,” said David Sturdee, president of the International Menopause Society.
“This very slightly increased risk of a blood clot should not discourage healthy women from using HRT if it is needed.”
The analysis of eight observational studies and nine randomized controlled trials found that hormone-replacement therapy given as a patch showed no significant increased risk, unlike the pills.
A reason for the difference might be due to the different way oestrogen is absorbed, they added. Further research was needed to confirm the findings, they said.
When taken orally, oestrogen enters through the digestive system and is processed by the liver. This might impair the balance between clotting and anti-clotting factors in the blood, the researchers said. (Reuters)
SUPPORT THE BUDAPEST BUSINESS JOURNAL
Producing journalism that is worthy of the name is a costly business. For 27 years, the publishers, editors and reporters of the Budapest Business Journal have striven to bring you business news that works, information that you can trust, that is factual, accurate and presented without fear or favor.
Newspaper organizations across the globe have struggled to find a business model that allows them to continue to excel, without compromising their ability to perform. Most recently, some have experimented with the idea of involving their most important stakeholders, their readers.
We would like to offer that same opportunity to our readers. We would like to invite you to help us deliver the quality business journalism you require. Hit our Support the BBJ button and you can choose the how much and how often you send us your contributions.