23 Aug 2008

NZ doctor says HRT guidelines need to be changed

6:18 am on 23 August 2008

A senior Christchurch doctor says it's time to update guidelines on the use of hormone replacement therapy.

HRT went out of favour in 2002 when a major international study raised cardiovascular and other health fears.

There's been a reassessment since, and further research published in the British Medical Journal on Friday says hormone therapy improves sleep and sex and reduces joint pain for women.

Endochrinologist Anna Fenton says the current New Zealand guidelines are overly negative, and most of the information on benefits to women in their 50s and early 60s hasn't been added.

The British research, which had New Zealand input, says HRT is best given at menopause rather than later.

The study involved women with an average age of 62, and even those without hot flushes and night sweats, found that HRT improved their quality of life.