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HRT Duration

Q: How many years should a woman be on HRT? 


Dr. Donnica:
There's no set answer for this question for all women -- since all women differ, this is a question that each woman should address with her own physician. In general, my answer is that women should take HRT -- just like any other medicine -- for as long as it continues to benefit them. Since prevention is the major reason women take HRT in the first place, the answer is to continue taking it, so long as you don't have any negative side effects or changes in your health that are contraindications for HRT.

Some data suggests that the risks of HRT increase slightly for women after taking it for 10 years. As a result, some physicians recommend that women stop taking HRT after 10 years. Other physicians do not feel this data is strong enough to warrant any changes in patients who are not at high risk and who are doing well. 

Another related issue you may want to discuss with your doctor is whether you are on the lowest dose of HRT that will still benefit you. For women who have been on HRT a long time, they may be able to decrease their dose and still get the maximum benefit. There are now lower dose products on the market than existed when many women started taking HRT.  In fact, a new low dose combination pill (Premia, from Wyeth Ayerst Labs) will soon be on the market.

With best regards,
Donnica Moore, MD

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Created: 6/5/2001  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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