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Myth or Menopause?

By EmpowHER May 14, 2013 - 6:17pm
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Sponsored by Upsher-Smith Laboratories
Test your knowledge about menopause by reading through these common myths.

Myth: Hormone therapy isn’t safe.

Hormone therapies that are FDA-approved have been clinically tested for safety and have been demonstrated to work. However, as with all drugs, there are benefits and risks to hormone therapy, and these will be different for each person.

All hormone therapies, regardless of form, administration type, and dosage, carry FDA warnings about potential serious risks, including1,8:

Estrogen-alone therapy:

  • Increases your chance of getting cancer of the uterus (womb)
  • Should not be used to prevent heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, or dementia (decline of brain function)
  • May increase your chances of getting strokes or blood clots
  • May increase your chance of getting dementia, based on a study of women 65 years of age or older

Estrogens with progestins:

  • Should not be used to prevent heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, or dementia
  • May increase your chances of getting heart attacks, strokes, breast cancer, or blood clots
  • May increase your chance of getting dementia, based on a study of women 65 years of age or older

These warnings are not meant to cause fear or alarm; they are meant to underscore the importance of weighing the benefits and risks of hormone therapy, while considering your individual needs, treatment goals, and personal and family medical history. Together with your healthcare professional, you can decide if hormone therapy is right for you.

Women who think they are pregnant, have problems with vaginal bleeding, have had certain kinds of cancers (including cancer of the breast or the uterus), have had a stroke or heart attack, have had blood clots, or have liver disease should not take hormone therapy.8 In addition, women should not take hormone therapy if they have been diagnosed with a bleeding disorder or are allergic to the ingredients.1

To learn more about the potential risks of hormone therapy, please read the Patient Information leaflet or the Full Prescribing Information including Boxed Warning for Divigel®.

Myth: Alternative treatments for hot flashes work just as well and are safer.

There are many, many alternative treatments for hot flashes on the market, such as supplements or remedies purchased over the counter, claiming to relieve symptoms naturally and safely. Some may be effective in reducing mild hot flashes to some degree. If you do get relief, however, many experts believe it may be due in part to a placebo effect.3

In the United States, supplements are not held to the same FDA regulations and standards that are applied to prescription medications. Only FDA-approved therapies are required to demonstrate effectiveness and safety.

Be aware that supplements may cause side effects, and that they may also negatively interact with other medications you may be taking. Before you decide to use supplements, please speak with your healthcare professional.3

Myth: Estrogen therapy is too expensive to use every month.

Divigel® has broad insurance coverage, and with the Divigel® Patient Savings Coupon you may be eligible to save even more on your prescription. Register for a Divigel® Patient Savings Coupon and we’ll send it to you today!

Myth: There is no difference between FDA-approved estrogen therapy and custom-compounded estrogen therapy.

Although they are both made from estrogen, there are significant differences between custom-compounded therapies and FDA-approved therapies such as Divigel®.

Compounded hormone therapy may be appropriate for some women, particularly those who cannot tolerate commercially manufactured forms.3 However, not all compounded products are supported by rigorous studies to prove they are safe or effective, and there is less oversight for quality, purity, and consistency.3 It is possible that these untested mixtures may even contain unknown contaminants.

Every woman is unique, so there is no one answer for which kind of treatment is right for you. The bottom line is that before seeking custom-compounded hormones, you should talk with your healthcare professional about your treatment goals, your personal and family medical history, and the potential risks of any and all medications you are currently taking or thinking about taking.

Myth: Everyone goes through menopause, so there’s no need to “treat” its symptoms like a disease.

Menopause is indeed a natural part of life, and some women experience no symptoms or mild symptoms that do not interfere with their day-to-day activities. However, women who experience moderate to severe hot flashes, which disrupt activities and interrupt sleep, should talk to their healthcare professionals about treating their symptoms with hormone therapy.

Myth: Estrogen therapy is unnatural.

There are no “natural” estrogen products that are FDA-approved.3 However, some estrogen therapies such as Divigel® contain 17β-estradiol, which is bioidentical to the estrogen produced naturally in a woman’s body prior to menopause.1,3 The estradiol in Divigel® is synthesized from plant sources, such as yams, soy, or sunflowers, and has been demonstrated to provide effective relief of moderate to severe hot flashes, which include night sweats.1,2,4

Did any of the myths fool you? Talk to your healthcare professional to find out more.

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