The concept of Hormone Replacement Therapy or HRT (formerly known as Estrogen Replacement Therapy or ERT) was flawed from the outset. It was never able to deliver on the promise of protecting women from the ravages of aging, such as defending against heart disease, avoiding osteoporosis, or keeping them feeling young forever. And yet, even today, Physicians and OB/GYNs continue to prescribe HRT for their patients, exposing them to considerable risk for cancer, heart disease, strokes and blood clots. Despite mounting scientific evidence to the contrary, we are still given the false impression that using hormones from the outside world, whether of synthetic or natural origins, is a sound medical practice. Unless you are living under a rock, you’ve heard about the HRT drug trial that was prematurely terminated. This trial involved over 16,000 women aged 50 to 79 who still had their uteruses. These women were given a combination of conjugated estrogens and progestin, sold under the brand name of “Prempro.” The women taking this drug showed a significant increase in the risk of invasive breast cancer. As soon as the news surfaced, Wyeth, the company that produces the drug, sent their spin-doctors out to perform damage control. They were very quick to point out that the trial involved the combination product, and that no negative conclusions should be drawn about using Premarin, their product that features conjugated estrogen, alone. That strikes me as odd considering that the New England Journal of Medicine (December, 1975) published Wyeth’s findings that Premarin used alone was the cause of a five-to-fourteen-fold increase in endometrial cancer in women. At that time, the spin was that estrogen should not be used unopposed, so we went from ERT to HRT. Now, apparently, it’s back to the ERT. Not to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but if you look at the big business that Hormone Replacement Therapy has become, you might wonder if our medical industry really has women’s best interests at heart. Here are the facts:
- Premarin was the most-prescribed drug between the years 1992 and 1999.
- In recent years, Premarin generated more than $2 billion in sales for Wyeth.