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Dramatic Drop in Hormone Therapy Use

Results of Clinical Trial Convince Many Women to Abandon Hormone Therapy After Menopause

Public Debate Drives Policy

Stafford says the dramatic decline in hormone therapy in menopausal women, in the wake of news reports following the WHI announcement, show that the health-care system can respond quickly to clinical trial results under the right circumstances.

In the same issue of JAMA, the researchers reported a smaller, but still significant, decline in the use of a class of hypertension drugs known as alpha-blockers after they were linked to an increased risk of heart failure. Both stories received significant media attention.

"A main message from these two experiences is that sometimes for clinical trial results to really have an impact, they need to leave the professional arena and become part of the public consciousness and conversation," Stafford says. "This is an idea that scientists are often uncomfortable with. But we have to recognize that there are social forces that are very important for determining whether clinical trial results really make a difference."

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