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General medicine
Hormone therapy should not be prescribed for primary prevention of chronic medical conditions in asymptomatic postmenopausal women
  1. Catriona Hilton1,
  2. Henry Boardman2
  1. 1 Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford, UK
  2. 2 Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Oxford University Hospitals Foundation Trust, Oxford, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Catriona Hilton, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK; catrionahilton{at}

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Commentary on: Gartlehner G, Patel SV, Feltner C, et al. Hormone Therapy for the Primary Prevention of Chronic Conditions in Postmenopausal Women: Evidence Report and Systematic Review for the US Preventive Services Task Force. JAMA 2017;318:2234–2249.


There is a postmenopausal increase in the incidence of cognitive impairment, heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and some cancers. This has raised the question of whether hormone therapy can prevent chronic disease in asymptomatic postmenopausal women. Use of hormone therapy is associated with reduced cardiovascular and osteoporosis risk in observational studies.1 Subsequent large randomised controlled trials (RCT)2 3 cast doubt on these findings and raise concerns regarding an increased risk of harm in women randomised to receive hormone therapy. This systematic review and meta-analysis4 by the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) …

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  • Contributors Both authors contributed equally to the article.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.