Which postmenopausal women should be offered combined HRT?
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Recent studies have demonstrated a small but significant risk of adverse effects from combined hormone replacement therapy (HRT), including cardiovascular disease, thromboembolic disease, and breast cancer. Time-limited HRT will control intolerable menopausal symptoms and prevent risk of fractures in newly menopausal women. However, HRT achieves its maximum efficacy in 35 years, and the risk of adverse outcomes increases as time progresses. Women considering HRT, particularly those at higher risk for vascular disease and breast cancer, should be informed of the potential risks. There is inadequate evidence to determine the extent of these risks in women who have had a hysterectomy and are taking unopposed estrogen (strength of recommendation: A, based on large randomized controlled trials).
Journal of Family Practice, 52(2) 2003: 149-150.