Women Need More Info About Compounded Hormones

February 27, 2015

Women taking compounded bioidentical hormones for symptoms of menopause don't know as much as they should about the therapy.

Recent survey results suggest women may be taking compounded bioidentical hormones to treat menopause without understanding the risks and unknowns of the therapy.

To gain a better understanding of compounded hormone therapy, researchers conducted two online surveys aimed at reaching women 40 years and older. These unregulated compounded hormones are widely used to ease the symptoms of menopause.

Key Points:

- Women using compounded hormones to alleviate menopause symptoms appear to not understand the difference between their drugs and FDA-approved medications.

- Patients should be warned that any compounded medication they take may not necessarily contain the substances in the amounts prescribed.

The survey results, which reached about 800 through Harris Interactive Inc. and more than 2,000 with Rose Research LLC, were used to calculate a projection that as many as 1 million to 2.5 million women are using compounded hormone therapy.

Many women, however, didn’t understand that these compounded drugs are not FDA approved and are instead formulated by pharmacies.

"These results indicate a general lack of understanding about key differences between compounded and FDA-approved hormone therapy. This publication establishes the need for better education on this topic," said Margery Gass, MD, executive director of The North American Menopause Society, in a news release highlighting the survey results.

The study authors concluded that providers have an opportunity to better educate women who are considering hormone therapy, and especially in explaining the differences between how FDA-approved therapies and compounded drugs are monitored.

The study, which was funded by Therapeutics MD, was published online in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society.