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Maturitas. 2005 Nov-Dec;52(3-4):296-305. Epub 2005 Jun 13.

Estimated numbers of postmenopausal women treated by hormone therapy in France.

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  • 1Département d'Information Médicale des Hospices Civils de Lyon, 162 avenue Lacassagne, 69003 Lyon, France.



To estimate the number of women aged 50-69 years treated by hormone therapy (HT) in France before Women's Health Initiative's (WHI) results and to evaluate the potential decrease of HT prescriptions since the publication of WHI clinical trial.


We used data from eight computerized databases of French cohort studies providing information on HT and constituted by women aged over 50 years living in metropolitan France. From these, we used direct standardization on the French population to estimate the prevalence of HT users across 5 years age groups. Data from the National Health Insurance Agency on two time-periods November 2002-January 2003 and November 2003-January 2004 were used to evaluate the evolution of HT prescriptions since WHI's publication among women aged 50-69 years living in the Rhône-Alpes region.


The crude prevalence of HT users among women aged 50-69 years was 52.3% (51.8-52.8) and corresponds to a standardized prevalence of 35.7% (35.1-36.4), that is about 2.56 (2.51-2.59) million women. Standardized prevalence was the highest in 50-54 years age group then it decreased significantly across the older age groups (p<10(-6)). HT reimbursements decreased significantly between the two studied time-periods in the Rhône-Alpes region (p<10(-6)) from -14 to -45%, depending on the considered age groups (65-69 or 50-54 years).


Although WHI results have been criticized by French professional societies based on the fact that treatments used were different in France--mainly transdermal estrogens--and that French postmenopausal women were at lower vascular risk than those of the WHI, the release of this study had effect on the prescription before the French regulatory agency (AFSSAPS) edited limiting recommendations for HT prescription. Further efforts have to be made to collect systematically information on preventive treatments used at menopause followed by evaluation studies.

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