Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may not be the great heart disease preventative that medicine has been championing after all. All postmenopausal women in America have been recommended to take the drug to reduce their risk of developing heart troubl

But the results, on which this benefit have been based, used biased evidence by selecting women for the tests who were too healthy.

This astonishing discovery means that the use of HRT as a universal preventative is “unwarranted”, say researchers at the Leiden University Hospital in the Netherlands.

They studied the findings of three recent surveys into the drug, and found an unintentional selection of healthy women for the test who may have been at a lower risk from developing heart disease anyway, whether or not they had taken HRT.

The earlier studies had concluded that postmenopausal women who took HRT lessened the risk of developing heart disease by 45 per cent. It was on the basis of these findings that the American College of Physicians recommended that HRT should be considered as a preventative by all postmenopausal women.

!ABMJ, 14 May 1994.

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