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GPs go forth

Fracture risk in HRT quitters

Women coming off hormone replacement therapy not only lose the bone-protective effect but actually increase their risk of hip fractures, according to new research.

The authors of the US National Osteoporosis Risk Assessment study concluded that 'postmenopausal women who have discontinued HRT within the past five years have a risk for hip fracture that is at least as high as that in women who have never used HRT'.

The study, published in Obstetrics and Gynaecology this month, followed 140,584 postmenopausal women over 50 years of age and found those who had discontinued HRT within the past five years had an odds ratio for hip fracture of 1.65 when compared with never-users.

But women who had stopped using HRT more than five years ago were found to have similar hip fracture rates to never-users.

The findings could cause problems for GPs dealing with women who have decided to end HRT use because of adverse publicity surrounding breast cancer and other risks, according to a GP expert.

Dr Anthony Seeley, a council member of the British Menopause Society and a GP in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, said: 'This is what we've believed for a long time – for protection you need to continue HRT lifelong.'

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