Since 2002, even the FDA, which still “approves” the use of Premarin®, Provera® and Prempro®, has issued guidelines recommending conventional HRT be used only for treating hot flashes and other common menopausal symptoms using the lowest possible doses for the shortest possible duration. Why? Because the disastrous effects of conventional HRT were unmistakably revealed by The Women’s Health Initiative study (WHI).
The WHI was a large government-funded clinical trial, involving more than 161,000 healthy postmenopausal women, which was conducted by the National Institutes of Health in 40 different clinics all over the U.S. Enrollment began in 1993, and the study was supposed to run for 8.5 years. However, just 5.2 years later, in mid-summer of 2002, NIH announced early termination of the study. Safety monitoring had revealed unacceptable risks of HRT that far outweighed any benefit.1
The WHI, which had been set up to confirm the many supposed benefits of conventional HRT, instead showed conventional HRT caused a scary array of intolerable outcomes in healthy postmenopausal women:
- Prempro® increased risk of invasive breast cancer by 26% after 4 years of treatment, plus the breast cancers were larger, more advanced and spread to nearby lymph nodes more frequently
- Prempro® increased risk of heart disease 81% during the first year of treatment and 29% overall
- Prempro® doubled the incidence of blood clots in lungs and legs, and increased incidence of stroke by 41%
- Prempro® increased risk of urinary incontinence
- Prempro® doubled risk of developing all types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s
- Prempro® had no beneficial effects on general health, vitality, mental health, depression or sexual satisfaction
- Premarin® unopposed was less likely to cause breast cancer than Prempro®, but increased risk of stroke
Faced with these WHI results, how did the FDA and Wyeth, the pharmaceutical company with the patents on Premarin® and Prempro®, respond? Instead of pulling the drugs off the market – what is typically done when strong evidence shows a drug causes cancer and heart disease and has no life-redeeming benefits – FDA simply approved new, approximately 50% lower dose forms for each drug. No studies were done, but they guessed lower doses would be safer.
Why are even the 50% lower dose versions of conventional HRT such a bad idea?
The FDA and Wyeth were wrong. A recent review of research on the efficacy and safety of low-dose “estrogen” therapy (actually, pregnant horse estrogen therapy) for menopausal women has concluded that low-dose versions are unlikely to improve Premarin®’s safety profile.2 Why?
Because the differences between the horse estrogens in Premarin® and human estrogen, and between the progestin, Provera® and human progesterone, are many. Not surprisingly, these compounds have profoundly different effects in a human body!
As explained in the article, Bio-identical Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy vs. Conventional (Traditional) HRT, “estrogen” is not a single hormone, but instead is actually a group of hormones the “estrogens,” which occur in both human women and in female horses. The horse versions of these estrogens are much more potent than the versions humans produce and therefore much more likely to cause breast and uterine cancer, and numerous other adverse effects – than bio-identical human estrogens.
Stay Young & Sexy with Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement: The Science Explained
This article summarizes key points presented in-depth in almost 500 pages in Stay Young & Sexy with Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement, the Science Explained by Jonathan V. Wright, MD, and. Lane Lenard, PhD. This book is the definitive resource on Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy and fully explains why BHRT is the best option for women, not only to alleviate the discomforts of menopause, but to prevent the long-term negative health consequences of our aging-related decline in sex hormones.
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Heiss G, Wallace R, Anderson GL, et al. Health risks and benefits 3 years after stopping randomized treatment with estrogen and progestin. JAMA. 2008;299:1036-1045.
Crandall C. Low-dose estrogen therapy for menopausal women: a review of safety and efficacy. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2003;12:723-747.