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Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans the Government have to restrict the use of hormone replacement therapy. [130106]

Following careful review of the recent findings from a number of studies that provide important new information on the safety of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), the committee on safety of medicines (CSM) and its expert working group on HRT have issued clear advice to prescribers and women.The CSM has advised that, for short-term use of HRT for the relief of menopausal symptoms, the benefits outweigh the risks for many women. However, for longer-term use of HRT, prescribers are advised that each decision to start HRT should be made on an individual basis and that women should be made aware of the increased risk of the adverse effects, including cancer and cardiovascular disease. Each treatment decision should take into consideration the known risks and benefits of HRT, the contraindications for use and each woman's individual circumstances. In addition, the need to continue HRT treatment should be reappraised at least once yearly.Product information is being updated to reflect fully the new information and will additionally advise prescribers that, for the treatment of post-menopausal symptoms, the lowest effective dose of HRT should be used and that treatment should only be continued as long as the benefit in alleviating severe symptoms outweighs the risks.As with all licensed medicines, the CSM keeps the safety of HRT under close review, and would take appropriate action if further evidence relating to its safe use became available.