Thursday, 12 November 2015

Menopause Issues and NICE guidelines? HRT might cause cancer, heart problems and dementia, but what the hell, women should take it anyway!

"Women whose lives are being affected by the symptoms of menopause should not feel they have to suffer in silence". This is the guidance of NICE, the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence.

Instead, their guidance to doctors recommends hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which the say is "effective for treating several menopausal symptoms". It recommends that doctors offer HRT for hot flushes and night sweats "after discussing the risks and benefits".

HRT has been around for many years. Premarin was first introduced in 1942. So why has this NICE advice only been brought out today (12th November 2015)? NICE explains.

          "Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a treatment option for menopausal symptoms, yet over the last decade confusion over its safety has led to a decline in its use and variation in practice" (my emphasis).

So, there has been 'confusion' for the last decade over its safety. What is this confusion? NICE does not bother to tell us. Indeed, in the whole of their guidance article, the word 'CANCER' is mentioned just once, and that tucked away at the bottom of the article! Perhaps they hope that we have forgotten about HRT's safety issues. So if there are women who have forgotten, and might be considering taking HRT, this is something I wrote several years ago.

          "Eventually, several trials produced results that were so bad they had to be discontinued.  In 2002, trials conducted by the Women’s Health Initiative in the USA, described as 'the largest and best designed federal studies of HRT'  was halted because women taking the hormones had a significantly increased risk of breast  and cervical cancer, heart attacks, stroke and blood clots. More trials were terminated in 2007, when a study of 5,692 women taking HRT raised similar concerns but added 'more definition to the health risks' (WDDTY 9 August 2007, source: British Medical Journal, 2007; 335: 239-44).

Note that the scientific studies were stopped before they had been concluded! The results were so bad, HRT was found to be so dangerous, researchers refused to continue with the trials. It should also be noted that other trials had found that HRT caused many other serious illnesses and diseases too, including a significantly increased the risk of dementia.

So during the 2000's, prescriptions for HRT treatment for the menopause were drastically reduced. The result was that breast cancer rates were significantly reduced. One result was that in the USA breast cancer rates fell by 12% in 2003 among women aged between 50 and 69, the most likely to be taking HRT.

Despite this, the drugs were never banned, despite the high probability of significant harm to the women who continued to take them. And now, NICE is trying to rehabilitate them!

It would appear that the new NICE guidelines have been written in the belief that it is possible to ignore this evidence, and encourage women passing through the menopause to take the drug. They actually call the new guidelines 'the Gold Standard'!
  • HRT will still cause cancer, and all the other diseases it has been associated with.
  • No-one taking HRT will be guaranteed that they won't suffer from one or more of these serious diseases.
  • But despite this doctors are now expected to encourage women to take HRT.
One problem is that the pharmaceutical industry has never found an alternative to HRT. However much a woman is suffering from menopausal symptoms, the only treatment the conventional medical system has to offer her is this failed and dangerous drug.

Nor does NICE mention that women do have alternatives, outside conventional medicine, dominated as it is by harmful and dangerous drugs like HRT. For  many years, an increasing number of women are now looking towards Homeopathy as a safer, and more effective treatment for menopausal problems. For a comparison of conventional and homeopathic treatment of menopausal issues, go to this website.

So why does NICE not mention such alternatives to drug-based treatment? Why does their guidance fail to point menopausal women to non-conventional treatments? Would this not extent informed patient choice?

NICE are part of the conventional medical establishment. It is an organisation dominated by people with close links to the pharmaceutical companies. It seems to be intent on encouraging doctors and patients to take more and more drugs. Yesterday, for instance, I wrote a blog about their promotion of Statin drugs. So whilst NICE recognises drug and vaccine dangers it fails to highlight them, and discounts them.

HRT might cause cancer, heart problems, and dementia. But what the hell! Drugs are profitable. They are indeed, the 'gold standard' for the pharmaceutical industry. Homeopathy is not profitable, and using it will reduce those taking drugs. 

And women's health, it would appear, is not really that important at all to the conventional medical establishment!

POSTSCRIPT
It has now emerged (WDDTY 17th November 2015) that it was an influential study by a researcher who had been recruited by a major HRT manufacturer who persuaded NICE to relax their guidelines on using the drug for women. 

          "Her research helped influence the UK’s NICE (National Institute for Healthcare and Excellence) decision to relax their stand on HRT and to put the therapy back on the table as an option for menopausal women. But Dr Nachtigall didn’t reveal that she had been recruited by HRT manufacturer Wyeth in 1999 to put her name to an article that extolled the benefits of the therapy.  Her involvement was reviewed by a US Congress hearing in 2008.

So this is yet more evidence that 'medical science' does not protect patients, but favours pharmaceutical companies.