Research Reveals Advantages of Low-Dose HRT

August 2, 2011

Lower Doses of Hormone Replacement Therapy Shown to be as Effective, Possibly Safer

Lower Doses of Hormone Replacement Therapy Shown to be as Effective, Possibly Safer

(Washington, DC) - Two articles in the June issue of Fertility and Sterility show that new lower dose forms of hormone replacement therapy HRT) for menopausal women are just as effective as commonly prescribed doses.
The articles both stem from the Women's Health, Osteoporosis, Progestin, Estrogen (Women's HOPE) study, a 2-year clinical trial of the safety and efficacy of lower-dose regimens of HRT in postmenopausal women. The Women's Hope project involved more than 2,600 women at multiple sites and was supported by Wyeth-Ayerst Research.

The first article compares patients (postmenopausal women age 40-65) on different doses of estrogen and progesterone. Participants were randomly assigned into one of eight groups and given different doses of the hormones, or a placebo.  The frequency and intensity of hot flashes were compared, as was vaginal atrophy.  The investigators concluded that lower doses of the hormones, "appear to be just as effective as the most commonly prescribed doses and should be considered as initial treatment options for a majority of women."

The second article explores the effectiveness of lower dose HRT as a way to stop bleeding in postmenopausal women. Again the subjects were randomly assigned to one of eight groups, each getting different doses of the hormones.  The study showed that the lower doses of the hormones were even more effective at stopping bleeding than the commonly prescribed levels and took effect more quickly.

"We are optimistic that the lower doses will enable even more women to safely take advantage of the benefits hormone replacement therapy can offer.  Research into how aging affects the reproductive system will be vital as our population ages. Low dose HRT may be an important part of the answer," stated Michael Soules, MD, President of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.