NIH Panel: Menopause Is Not a Disease
Report Calls for Less Emphasis on Hormone Treatment
WebMD News Archive
"It gives women and health care providers the information they need to
insulate themselves from quacks and poor choices," says Deborah
Briceland-Betts, PhD, senior vice president of the Sutton Group, and a member
of the NIH panel.
The group endorsed already-recommended strategies of using lower doses for
shorter periods of time for women with more severe symptoms, though it
cautioned that research has not conclusively shown which doses can be deemed
Mangione, who is a professor of medicine at the University of California at
Los Angeles, said that some women do experience debilitating menopausal
symptoms and that such women should weigh the benefits of symptom relief with
the risk of side effects. But most other women tend to improve without drugs or
other treatments, she added.
She noted that several studies have shown that up to one-third of women
taking placebos instead of drugs still see their symptoms subside. It's a
larger improvement than is seen with placebos in most medical studies, though
researchers still do not understand why the effect is so large.
"It suggests that there is a big segment of the population out there who
probably are going to be better without any treatments," she says.
SOURCES: Draft Statement of the National Institutes of Health
State-of-the-Science Conference on Management of Menopause-Related Symptoms,
March 23, 2005. Carol Mangione, MD, professor of medicine, UCLA, chair, NIH
panel. Deborah Briceland-Betts, PhD, senior vice president, Sutton Group; and
member, NIH panel.