Early Termination of the WHI Estrogen Study
by Jennifer Wider, MD
Washington, DC- The Society for Women's Health Research (SWHR) today
issued the following statement regarding the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
decision to terminate early the estrogen-alone portion of the Women's Health
Initiative (WHI) study.
"It is important to put this study into context. It was designed to assess
the effect of long-term hormone therapy in healthy post-menopausal women in
the prevention of heart disease and hip fractures and any related changes in
the risk for breast cancer. The study did not evaluate the short-term risks
and benefits of hormone therapy for the treatment of moderate or severe menopausal
symptoms, such as hot flashes or vulvar and vaginal atrophy.
"Preliminary results show that estrogen alone does not increase or decrease
a woman's risk for heart disease or breast cancer. As with combination estrogen-plus-progestin,
risk of hip fracture decreases. A small increased risk of stroke does appear
to be a factor, and in women over 65 years of age preliminary data suggests
a possible increase in cognitive loss.
"The follow-up phase of the study will have to be carried out
before any conclusive interpretations can be made.
"New research in menopausal therapy is imperative so that other
options for women become available. The Society commends the women who are
participating in the Women's Health Initiative. Through their committed
participation, they have demonstrated that women can and will participate
in medical research in large numbers, and that the appropriate inclusion of
women in medical research studies is an achievable goal."
The Society for Women's
Health Research is the nation's only not-for-profit organization
whose sole mission is to improve the health of women through research. Founded
in 1990, the Society brought to national attention the need for the appropriate
inclusion of women in major medical research studies and the resulting need
for more information about conditions affecting women. The Society advocates
increased funding for research on women's health, encourages the study of sex
differences that may affect the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease,
and promotes the inclusion of women in medical research studies. Dr. Donnica
Moore has been a member of the Society since 1990 and is a past member of its
Board of Directors.
Created: 3/2/2004  - Donnica Moore, M.D.