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Recently released data from the estrogen-only arm of the Women's Health Initiative, which was halted prematurely in February, confirm that estrogen therapy is associated with a significantly increased risk of stroke and venous thromboembolic disease, compared with placebo, and it does not protect against coronary heart disease.
The data also show that estrogen therapy is associated with a significant reduction in fracture risk.
Aside from its short-term use to relieve menopausal symptoms, estrogen therapy has no overall benefit, reported Garnet L. Anderson, Ph.D., of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, and associates (JAMA 291:1701-12, 2004).
"These findings reinforce the recommendations that estrogen-alone therapy should not be used for the prevention of chronic disease. NIH continues to advise women to follow current FDA guidance, which says that hormone therapy should be used …