The findings come from a secondary analysis of data from the Women’s Health Initiative — the study that first raised concerns in 2002 that combined HRT increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and breast cancer.
The study ended early when women taking oestrogen plus progesterone were found to have a 29 per cent increased risk of CHD over five years. Analysis of data from 27,347 women assigned to combined HRT, oestrogen-only HRT or placebo showed that the greatest risk of CHD was among women who began HRT 20 years or more since onset of the menopause, at 28 per cent.
But in women who started HRT within 10 years of the menopause, the risk was reduced by 26 per cent.
The findings did not reach statistical significance, but researchers said they ‘offer some reassurance’ that HRT is a reasonable short-term treatment.