US Pharm. 2008;33(4):9.

Millions of women gave up on their hormone replacement therapy (HRT) drugs following the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) report several years ago that linked HRT to increased risk of breast cancer, stoke, and deep venous thrombosis and showed no evidence of a reduction in heart disease. In stopping HRT it was thought that those risks would be immediately minimized or even eliminated.

However, a study published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that nearly three years after stopping a popular HRT drug combination (estrogen/progestin), participants in the WHI study had more lung cancer and a tendency toward higher all-cause mortality than those in the study who did not take the hormones. The researchers concluded that the differences in cancer, both fatal and nonfatal, and all-cause mortality were not statistically significant between the women who took hormones and those who did not.

They found that an average of 2.4 years after stopping therapy, the increased cardiovascular risks such as stroke, pulmonary emboli, and deep venous thrombosis diminished but the increased risk of invasive breast cancer observed during the active treatment phase remained fairly steady.

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