Oprah and Bioidentical Hormones: FAQ
Oprah Is Talking About Bioidentical Hormones for Menopause; Experts Weigh In
WebMD News Archive
Does That Mean Compounded Bioidentical Hormones Are Safer? continued...
"It may be safer, but that study hasn't been done yet," Schiff tells
WebMD. He says he would like to see a large, lengthy, rigorously designed study
on the topic.
"I'm not inherently negative about it," Schiff says. "I hope
they'd be good ... and if it turns out to be safer, fabulous. I would like, as
a physician, to prescribe the safest hormones to my patients who want to be
Erika Schwartz, MD, a New York doctor who prescribes FDA-approved
biodentical hormones and compounded bioidentical hormones, says there have been
studies that support the safety of bioidentical hormones, compared to other
Schwartz asks, "If NAMS or ACOG says there are not enough studies, well,
why haven't you done the studies if you think you need more? If this had been
men's health, would we be having
this conversation, or would we have answers?"
Schwartz says she has long wanted to see large, government-sponsored studies
compare bioidentical and other hormone therapies head to head.
"She's allowed to have her opinions," Uhl says. "The evidence
that FDA has seen and what's available in the medical literature leads us to
believe that there are the same concerns" with bioidentical and other
hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms.
Uhl adds that "the FDA is
not prohibiting the compounding of bioidentical hormones. There is
definitely a niche for them and certain patients do need this, but it's not for
everybody, and the people who are taking it need to realize that the risks are
probably the same for the FDA-approved drugs as they are for the [compounded]
Can You Take Bioidentical Hormones Indefinitely?
Hormone therapy has been linked to increased risk of breast cancer, so most health
experts recommend that women take the lowest dose for the shortest time, if
they need it.
That research wasn't done on bioidentical hormones. But that doesn't
necessarily mean that it's safe to take them for a longer time, Schiff
"If you have the exact same estrogen as one's own body makes, it doesn't
mean it's any safer," says Schiff.