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Menopause. 2004 Jan-Feb;11(1):89-97.

Hormone therapy prescription among physicians in France and Quebec.

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INSERM National Institute of Health and Medical Research U149, Epidemiological Research Unit on Perinatal Health and Women's Health, Villejuif, France.



Our objective was to compare physician characteristics associated with high-frequency hormone therapy (HT) prescription between gynecologists and general practitioners (GPs) within and between France and Quebec, Canada.


A self-administered mail survey was sent to a representative sample of 2,000 physicians in France and 1,000 physicians in Quebec. High-frequency prescribers were those who reported prescribing HT to more than 70% of their postmenopausal patients. The following characteristics were included in the analysis: country, specialty, age, gender, characteristics of the practice (solo or group, private or public, rural or urban, number of patients seen daily, duration of practice, percentage of women 45 years or older), teaching or research activities, participation in education course on HT, and practice patterns relating to menopausal women (having patient education materials available, providing materials to patients, and discussing the possibility of HT).


The analysis covered 974 physicians in France (389 GPs and 585 gynecologists) and 452 physicians in Quebec, Canada (318 GPs and 134 gynecologists). Despite differences in health care, in both countries gynecologists were more likely to be high-frequency prescribers than were GPs, although this difference was smaller in Quebec. Canadian physicians were more likely to prescribe HT. The difference between countries was greatest among GPs. Except for nationality and practice patterns designed to provide women with information, none of the physician characteristics was associated with high-frequency prescription among GPs. Among gynecologists, only the number of patients per day and the provision of information were associated with high-frequency prescription.


Notwithstanding a common language, differences in the prescription pattern of HT between countries were greatest at the level of primary care than secondary care. In both countries, specialists were more likely to prescribe HT than were GPs. Implementation of clinical practice guidelines to set baseline standards in the field of menopausal health remains a challenge but will need to take into account cultural characteristics as well as level of medical care.

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