important to notice."
Currie adds: “This latest news brings some balance back. We can't go as far as to say that taking HRT is entirely without risk, but we have to get back the confidence of using HRT with younger menopausal women. We have to realize that, in this group of women, the risk of heart disease and strokes is very, very small. The risk of heart disease and strokes exists in the higher age group of women - but these women wouldn't be using HRT commonly.
"A lot of people who are putting up with their menopausal symptoms because of the 2002 results and subsequent guidance can now be reassured that HRT is still the best treatment for them and their symptoms."
Dr John Stevenson, an HRT expert from the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, is a member of the British Menopause Society and it was he who described the updated research as a "dramatic U-turn".
"At the moment there are too many people either not taking or getting HRT from GPs because of unfounded fears," he says supporting the former views.
Currie and Stevenson both agree that, when doctors use HRT, they need to look at the individual woman, their general health, their medical history and their diet and lifestyle. There is no general approach to menopause treatment, and the aim is to individualize treatment further and help each woman come to an informed choice about whether or not she wants to opt for HRT.
Consequentially, what many experts want now is a statement from the regulatory authorities that HRT is safe when used appropriately, so that those who want to use it can do so without undue worry.
"The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, which is responsible for drug safety, has to go back and look at the subject again and come out with reassuring recommendations in the light of these findings," says Stevenson. "Women and GPs need reassurance about using HRT urgently."
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