RCGP urges women on HRT not to be alarmed by new study

Publication date: 06 March 2019

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to a study in the BMJ about long-term use of hormone therapy.

She said: "Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can be of greatest benefit to many women who are suffering from some of the unpleasant side-effects of the menopause, such as hot flushes and night sweats - and there is a large body of evidence that shows it is an effective and safe treatment for most women.

"However, as with any medication there are risks and it's important that women are aware of them so that they can make an informed decision, with their doctor, before starting treatment. Prescribing is a core skill for GPs and we will take into account the physical, psychological and social factors potentially impacting on a patient's health, along with latest clinical guidelines and the patient's wishes, when developing a treatment plan.

"To minimise any risk, best practice for most women is to prescribe the lowest possible dose of hormones for the shortest possible time in order to achieve satisfactory relief of symptoms.

"This new research shows an association with very long-term use of combined HRT but does not prove that there is a causal link. Nevertheless, it is a large, independent study and it is important that it is taken into account as clinical guidelines are updated and developed.

"We would urge patients not to be alarmed by this research - as the researchers state, any risk is extremely low - and if they are currently taking HRT, to continue doing so as prescribed by their doctor. If they are concerned, they should discuss this with their doctor at their next routine appointment."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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