Washington: Women who want to use hormone replacement therapy may be less likely to have a stroke if they use low-dose patches instead of pills, Canadian researchers reported on Thursday. Their study of British women showed that those who used estrogen patches to control symptoms of menopause did not have any higher risk of stroke than women who did not use HRT.
"The risk of stroke was not increased with use of low estrogen dose patches compared with no use, whereas the risk was increased with high dose patches," Suissa`s team wrote. HRT pills raised the risk of stroke by 25 percent to 30 percent, regardless of the formulation. High-dose patches raised the risk by 88 percent. Delivering low doses of hormones through the skin bypasses the liver and may reduce the whole-body effects, Suissa`s team said in their report, available at: http://www.bmj.com/cgi/doi/10.1136/bmj.c2519. Menopause can cause serious symptoms, including debilitating hot flashes, sleep disturbances and a lack of energy. Women also become more susceptible to heart disease, osteoporosis and some cancers after menopause. Experts in HRT and menopause say women should be able to choose to use hormones to treat these symptoms but should take the lowest dose possible for the shortest possible time. Before 2002 HRT was regularly prescribed to prevent heart disease and osteoporosis but the experts now recommend against this. Manson said the ongoing Women`s Health Initiative study will look at different doses of hormones. Her team found two years ago that low-dose HRT pills did not raise the risk of stroke and said more study is needed to be sure. "If there was an option that didn`t raise the risk of stroke, that would be a tremendou breakthrough," Manson said in a telephone interview. Makers of HRT patches include Novogyne, a joint venture of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp and Noven Pharmaceuticals Inc, which was acquired last year by Japan`s Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical Co Inc and Janssen-Cilag, part of Johnson & Johnson. Bureau Report
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