HRT 'improves' quality of life

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can improve the health-related quality of life of older women, according to a BMJ study.

HRT guidelines should be reviewed in light of this evidence, say the authors.

Previous research has suggested that HRT can improve general quality of life (the way patients feel or function) and reduce the number and severity of symptoms associated with the menopause but these studies have used general rather than more sensitive condition-specific measures.

The WISDOM trial randomised 5,692 healthy women aged 50-69 years from general practices in the UK, Australia and New Zealand to receive either combined HRT or placebo since 1999.

Significantly fewer women in the HRT group reported hot flushes (9 vs 25 per cent), night sweats (14 vs 23 per cent), aching joints and muscles (57 vs 63 per cent), insomnia (35 vs 41 per cent), and vaginal dryness (14 vs 19 per cent) than in the placebo group.

BMJ Online First

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