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Am J Med. 2005 Dec 19;118 Suppl 12B:163-5.

Discontinuation of postmenopausal hormone therapy.

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Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California-San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.


Current guidelines recommend that postmenopausal hormone therapy (HT) be used primarily for treatment of vasomotor and urogenital symptoms associated with the menopausal transition and that women use the lowest effective dose for the shortest time necessary. Vasomotor symptoms improve or resolve spontaneously within a few months to a few years of onset in the majority of women, suggesting that most women should be able to discontinue HT within a few years of starting treatment. Approximately 75% of women who try to stop are able to stop HT without major difficulty. However, some women who would like to stop HT are unable to do so, mainly owing to the development of vasomotor symptoms. Troublesome symptoms associated with stopping HT appear to be more common among women who start HT for treatment of symptoms, but they also are reported by women who started HT for other reasons, such as prevention of osteoporosis. Unfortunately, little information is available to guide physicians in helping women who have difficulty stopping HT. Many clinicians recommend slowly tapering HT or adding another drug for treatment of hot flashes, but the effectiveness of these approaches has not been evaluated. For women who cannot tolerate even a slow taper, the value of symptom relief likely outweighs any increased risks due to HT use.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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