Female hormone replacement therapy back on the agenda

Kronos Longevity Research Institute (KLRI) has announced plans for the Kronos Early Estrogen Prevention Study (KEEPS), a five-year study of female hormone replacement therapy aimed at providing prospective data on the risks and benefits of early menopausal hormonal intervention, particularly as it relates to the progression of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a medical condition in which fatty material is deposited along the walls of arteries. This fatty material thickens, hardens and may eventually block arteries and cause heart disease.

The study also will compare conjugated oral with transdermal estrogen treatment to further elucidate the potential role of their differential actions in mediating adverse effects of menopausal hormone therapy (MHT).

"Despite more than 40 years of research, menopausal hormone replacement therapy with estrogen or estrogen/progestin remains one of the most debatable areas in medicine," said Dr. S. Mitchell Harman, director of KLRI. "The controversial Women's Health Initiative (WHI) study has left many questions unanswered. We have concluded that additional trials of MHT in a target population much younger than the mean age of 62.7 that was studied in the WHI will be required to shed light on the risk-benefit ratio of early MHT."

Prior to the WHI study, most data suggested that hormone replacement therapy was associated with a high degree of protection (40-60 percent reductions) against coronary heart disease, all-cause mortality and osteoporotic fractures, in addition to a small increase in breast cancer risk.

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