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Women Eager for New Ways to Manage Menopause

Washington, DC (September 9, 2004) Seventy-five percent of women in a national menopause survey say they would recommend hormone therapy to a friend.  This finding, among others, comes from an online survey conducted by the National Women's Health Resource Center (NWHRC). 

"In a 2003 survey, women told us that they were concerned about the safety of menopausal hormone therapy.  They had turned to vitamins, over-the-counter medications or herbal remedies - none of which are approved by the FDA to treat menopause symptoms," said Amy Niles, president and CEO of the NWHRC. "This year, we find women much more comfortable with their hormone therapy choices and willing to explore new delivery systems."

In fact, 63.5 percent of respondents were willing to consider new delivery methods for their hormone therapy, such as a transdermal gel applied to the arm - the newest delivery option for estrogen therapy.  

In spite of an increased willingness to explore new delivery options, the survey indicated women still are confused about several issues.  For example, while the estrogen-only arm of the Women's Health Initiative, which studied Premarin, found that hormone therapy does not increase the incidence of breast cancer, women cited it as their number one fear related to using hormone therapy. 

Also, women expressed confusion surrounding bio-identical hormones from specialized compounding pharmacies.  More than half of survey respondents thought such compounds were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, even though they are not.  Ironically, FDA approval was so important to the women in the survey that more than two-thirds would not think a product was safe or effective without such approval. 

Summary of Key Findings
The National Women's Health Resource Center
Survey on Women and Menopausal Hormone Therapy

  • 83.7 percent of women surveyed were between the ages of 40 and 64.

  • 63.5 percent of women who are currently on or are considering hormone therapy would consider a new delivery form, such as a transdermal gel applied to the arm.

  • 51 percent of women were prescribed hormone therapy as their first course of treatment, and 68 percent of women indicated their first course of treatment was effective in alleviating the symptoms of menopause, with the largest number of women citing their treatment as "very effective."

  • More than half the women surveyed were not aware that bio-identical hormones compounded in a pharmacy were not FDA approved, and only 29 percent of women indicated they would think a bio-identical product was safe and effective without FDA approval.  The largest number of women indicated they would prefer an FDA approved bio-identical hormone therapy option.

  • Understanding the need for individualized therapy, 75 percent of women would recommend hormone therapy as an option to treat symptoms associated with menopause. 

To address the confusion and provide women with a comprehensive resource for all of their questions related to menopause and hormone therapy, the NWHRC has developed a  new Menopause Awareness Kit, available on the center's Web site at  www.healthywomen.org.  Included in the free kit are several educational items for menopausal women, including a comprehensive guide to understanding menopause, a chart describing the most commonly used forms of hormone therapy, a woman's menopause glossary, and a list of questions women can use in talking about menopause and hormone therapy with their health care providers. 

The NWHRC survey was conducted between May 20, 2004 and June 30, 2004 through www.healthywomen.org.  Out of a total of 814 respondents, 83.7 percent were between the ages of 40 and 64.

For more information about menopause, click here.

The National Women's Health Resource Center is the nation's leading independent nonprofit organization dedicated to educating women of all ages about health and wellness issues.  Its programs include publications such as the bimonthly newsletter the National Women's Health Report, public education campaigns and its Web site, www.healthywomen.org.

Created: 9/9/2004  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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