The use of hormone-replacement therapy for menopause for five
years or more increases the risk of dying from lung cancer by 60%,
U.S. researchers reported on Saturday. For smokers, the trial found
that use of Prempro, Wyeth's combined estrogen/progestin
hormone-replacement therapy, caused an extra death from non-small cell
lung cancer for each 100 women during the study.
Doctors once thought that hormone therapy, or HRT, could
protect women from chronic diseases, especially heart disease. But use
of the drugs plunged after 2002 when the large Women's Health
Initiative study found that HRT could raise the risk not only of breast
and ovarian cancer, but of strokes and other serious conditions.
The findings are based on secondary analyses of a study of
16,608 menopausal women in good health by the US government known as
the Women's Health Initiative. Researchers sought to evaluate the
effects of Prempro, a combination of estrogen and progestin (a
synthetic form of progesterone), sold by the US pharmaceutical giant
Wyeth. The analysis focused on the incidence of the most common form of
lung cancer and its mortality rate over a period of nearly 5.5 years
comparing women who followed the hormonal treatment and another group
that took placebos. There was no significant difference between the two
groups in the rate of lung cancer, but the mortality rate after the
diagnosis was two times higher among the women that were using hormone
replacement therapy. The menopausal woman who got lung cancer and
followed hormonal treatment had a 61% higher chance of dying from the
disease than the other women in the study. While breast cancer is the
most common cancer in US women, lung cancer is the leading cause of
cancer death among US women.
“Women almost certainly shouldn't be using hormone replacement
therapy and tobacco at the same time,” said Dr. Rowan Chlebowski, a
medical oncologist at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles and
lead author of the study, which analyzed data from the WHI trial. The
study was presented at the 45th annual meeting of the American Society
of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the biggest global cancer conference.
Heartburn drugs may raise risk of hip fractures
Even short-term use of popular acid-reducing heartburn drugs
used to treat GERD and ulcer disease likely raise the risk of hip
fractures, U.S. researchers said this Monday. The increased risks
appeared two years after patients started taking proton pump inhibitors
such as Prevacid, Nexium, Prilosec, Protonix and Aciphex and
histamine-2 receptor antagonists such as Zantac, according to the
researchers at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco.
A recent study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal
suggested long-term use of proton pump inhibitors -- for at least five
years -- may raise the risk of hip fractures. Dr. Douglas Corley, who led the study, said in a statement “the
increased risk with short-term use of acid-suppressing drugs suggests
that even relatively brief periods of use may be associated with
increased risk of hip fractures.”
For the study, Corley and colleagues analyzed data on nearly
40,000 patients taking acid-reducing drugs, and compared them to more
than 130,000 patients not taking the drugs. Patients who had hip
fractures were 30% more likely to have taken proton pump inhibitors
for at least two years and 18% more likely to have taken histamine-2
receptor antagonists for at least two years. Risks were lower in people
who had taken lower doses. Those who took less than one pill a day had a 12% increase in fracture
risk. Patients who took one pill per day had a 30% increased risk,
while those who took more than one pill a day had a 41% higher risk.
People aged 50 to 59 who had been on proton pump inhibitors for more
than two years had the biggest increase in fracture risk with taking
the drugs, they said. The researchers presented their findings this
week in Chicago at the Digestive Diseases Week meeting.
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