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Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2005 Dec;14(12):837-42.

Use of postmenopausal hormone therapy since the Women's Health Initiative findings.

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Slone Epidemiology Center, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA.



To assess how use of postmenopausal hormone therapy (PHT) has changed since the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) trial was halted early due to an excess risk of stroke and other adverse outcomes. To estimate whether use of alternative drugs to treat menopausal symptoms (e.g., selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors [SSRIs], soy) has increased.


Women were interviewed in the Slone Survey, a random-digit-dial (RDD) survey of current medication use in a representative national sample. Information was obtained on PHT including dose, route, and reason for use, and on use of alternative drugs to treat menopausal symptoms. There were 3853 women aged >or=50 years, interviewed from 1/2001 to 6/2004.


The average weekly prevalence of PHT declined 57%, from 28% in the first half of 2002 to 12% in the first half of 2004. Use declined for conjugated estrogens (CE) and for other estrogens, taken either alone or with progestin. The decrease exceeded 50% in most strata of age, race, education, and region. The proportion of PHT users taking 0.3 mg CE did not change. Comparing prevalence in 2004 with prevalence in 2002, there was no material increase in use of black cohosh (2.0% in 2004) or soy (2.0%) and use of SSRIs was somewhat lower (8.9%).


These population-based usage data demonstrate a large decline in PHT use among women of postmenopausal age. The proportion of CE users taking lower doses has not increased. On a population basis, millions fewer women are using PHT in 2004 than before the WHI results were published, but there has been no appreciable increase in use of alternative therapies for menopausal symptoms over the same period.

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