Despite the known dangers of hormone replacement therapy, the companies continue to promote these products, and doctors continue to prescribe them, as a means of warding off dementia, preventing bone fractures, or reducing the risk of heart disease in post-menopausal women. Now, confirming what our medical malpractice attorneys have known for years, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has confirmed that these practices are dangerous, with the risks far outweighing any preventative benefits.
Although the safety of hormone replacement therapy during menopause, to relieve symptoms, is still questionable and hotly debated, the current review does not apply to that use of the medicines. An upcoming report on the safety of use during menopause is expected soon from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and our products liability lawyers expect a similar recommendation.
The current recommendation is, like all such documents, now published in draft form. There will be a period of public comment until June 26, after which the recommendations may be edited or become final.
This recommendation joins other controversial recommendations from the Task Force. This same task force has, in recent years, advised against established, routine breast cancer screening for women under 50, and established, routine prostate-antigen screening as part of men’s physicals. Our experienced medical malpractice attorneys disagree with the elimination of routine screening for dangerous cancers, but in this case are in full agreement with the task force.
Hormone replacement therapy, which was at one time thought of as an innovative, even essential new treatment for aging women, has proven to be a danger rather than a help. It has now been a decade since the first studies linking the therapy to breast cancer were released. Although various studies have shown various levels of risks and benefits, one fact has become clear: these treatments are dangerous.
The most recent analysis of all available research has shown that hormone replacement therapy may provide very limited protection against bone fractures (which other medicines more efficiently provide), but provides no protection against heart disease and may, despite the claims of manufacturers and some physicians, actually increase the risk of dementia, rather than helping to prevent it. It does, however, increase the risk not only of breast cancer but also of blood clots (in the legs and lungs), gallbladder problems, stroke, and urinary incontinence.
If you have experienced any of these conditions after prescribed hormone replacement therapy, your therapy may be to blame, and you may be the victim of a defective product or medical malpractice. Talk to an experienced attorney about your unique circumstances and the details of your therapy, and find out if you can seek legal relief.
For a free consultation with an experienced Chicago product liability lawyer at Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.