Ten-year study shows HRT halts brittle-bone disease

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The Independent Online
Hormone Replacement Therapy can prevent the brittle-bone disease osteoporosis in post-menopausal women for twice as long as had been originally thought, according to a report presented at an osteoporosis conference in Amsterdam following the first 10-year trial of continuous HRT.

Osteoporosis, brought on by hormonal changes, affects one in three European women over 50. But those who received the treatment experienced an estimated 20 per cent reduction in fracture risk over 10 years compared with a 12 per cent increased risk in another group who were untreated. Previous studies were conducted over five years. Until now doctors did not know HRT could benefit bones over such a long period.

The finding is the latest benefit for HRT which has been hailed as a "wonder drug" protecting against heart attacks and strokes, and preventing hot flushes, mood swings and night sweats. There is, however, a slight increase in the risk of breast cancer after use of HRT for 10 to 25 years.