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HRT Use Prevents Osteoporotic Fractures

A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (6/13/01) supported the importance of early menopausal hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to prevent fractures from osteoporosis.  This comprehensive analysis of 22 randomized controlled trials concluded that postmenopausal women taking HRT, especially women under age 60, had fewer non-spinal fractures than those who did not.  

HRT is FDA-approved to prevent and manage osteoporosis; these findings support this.  This study demonstrated that the greatest benefit of estrogen in osteoporosis protection is early in menopause.  This is consistent with other findings that up to 20% of a women's expected lifetime bone loss occurs in the first 5 to 7 years after menopause. 

This does not mean that estrogen doesn't continue to help women who are over age 60, just that they benefit less than women who start HRT younger.  The study concluded that there was a 33% lower risk of nonvertebral fractures in women who took HRT before 60 years old.  Women who were over 60 had a 12% risk reduction from HRT.

How does this news affect you?  The only way to know is to ask your doctor.  For more information, click here.

Created: 8/2/2001  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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