Some HRT tablets ‘linked to higher blood clot risk’

12 January, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Women taking certain types of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) tablets could be more at risk from serious blood clots - although the overall risk is low, BMJ research suggests.

It found tablets containing equine oestrogen were linked with a slightly higher risk than other tablets. And patches and gels for HRT were the safest but were underused.

GPs’ leaders said HRT treatments were tailored to meet the needs of individual patients. They said women should not panic or stop taking HRT. Instead, they should discuss any concerns at their next routine GP appointment. HRT is used to relieve symptoms of the menopause such as hot flushes and night sweats, by replacing hormones that are at a lower level. The treatments come in a number of different forms, including tablets, gels, cream and patches.

Most experts agree that HRT is a good and safe treatment - but there are some small potential risks, as NHS UK advice explains. These include a small increased risk of certain serious health problems, such as blood clots and breast cancer.

This study, by University of Nottingham researchers, said the increased risk of taking HRT tablets was equivalent to nine extra cases of blood clots per 10,000 women per year.

The study looked at the prescription records of 80,000 women aged 40-79 who had developed blood clots and compared them with records of 390,000 women who had not. For tablet treatments, the risk was found to differ for two types of oestrogens.

The risk of blood clots was 15% higher for the treatments containing oestrogen manufactured from horse urine than for the synthetic oestradiol, for both single and combined hormone treatments. But there was no such risk for women using gels, patches or creams for HRT - also called transdermal treatment.       —BBC