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Designer Estrogen May Be Better Than HRT

Osteoporosis Drug Might Replace HRT for Disease Prevention

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"At this point, I don't think physicians can say to patients that this drug will reduce your risk of breast cancer by 70% and your risk of stroke by 60%, even though that is what we found in this one study," she says. "What they can say is that this drug is not like estrogen. It definitely does not increase the risk of breast cancer and stroke. From a safety point of view these data are quite convincing."

Preliminary findings from a separate study, reported late last July, suggest that Evista may help prevent the memory loss and dementia associated with Alzheimer's disease. Researchers hope to confirm the findings when data from the more than 5,300 women taking part in the study are analyzed.

North American Menopause Society executive director Wulf H. Utian, MD, PhD, says HRT is still the best option for the treatment of menopausal symptoms. He says studies suggest that taking estrogen or estrogen plus progestin for five years or less is perfectly safe for most women, but women on HRT should be re-evaluated annually to determine if they need to remain on it.

"My message to women is don't rule out hormones for short-term use," he tells WebMD. "There are different options for prevention of disease, and raloxifene is definitely among them. It is important to educate yourself about what they are and discuss them with your physician."

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