NIH Holds Conference to Assess Evidence on Management of Menopause–Related Symptoms
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will hold a State-of-the-Science
Conference on Management of Menopause-Related Symptoms, March 21-23,
2005, at the Natcher Conference Center on the NIH campus in Bethesda,
Maryland. The conference will bring together researchers and practitioners
in various aspects of menopausal care and research to examine and
synthesize the available scientific evidence on treatment of menopausal
symptoms. A press briefing
will be held at the close of the conference, at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday,
Many women and their doctors are concerned about the use of menopausal
hormone therapy (MHT) for their menopausal symptoms and interested
in learning about alternatives. For many decades, using estrogen
(or, in a woman with a uterus, using a combination of estrogen
and a progestin) has been the therapy of choice for relieving menopause-related
symptoms. But recently, some large clinical trials have found a
greater chance of serious health problems such as blood clots,
stroke, heart disease, or breast cancer and benefits like fewer
hip fractures or less risk of colon cancer in certain groups of
women using MHT. It is not clear how these findings apply to women
with symptoms because these clinical trials were not designed to
study such women, but rather to test whether MHT could prevent
chronic diseases or conditions of aging, such as heart disease
or cognitive decline.
Research has identified a number of hormonal and non-hormonal
approaches that show promise for managing menopause-related symptoms.
A careful examination of these strategies for symptom management
is urgently needed to provide women and their health care providers
with options that will best control their symptoms and restore
their quality of life.
The conference presentations and discussions will focus on the
following five key questions:
- What is the evidence that the symptoms more frequently reported
by middle-aged women are attributable to ovarian aging?
- When do the menopausal symptoms appear, how long do they persist,
with what frequency and severity, and what is known about the
factors that influence them?
- What is the evidence for the benefits and harms of commonly
used interventions for relief of menopause-related symptoms?
- What are the important considerations in managing menopause-related
symptoms in women with clinical characteristics or circumstances
that may complicate decision-making?
- What are the future research directions for treatment of menopause-related
symptoms and conditions?
During the first day and part of the second day of the conference,
experts will present the latest findings in menopausal symptoms
research to an independent panel. The panel will then meet in executive
session to weigh the evidence before them and prepare its statement
assessing the state of the science. The panel will present its
draft statement for public comment at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March
The press briefing will be held in the main auditorium of the
Natcher Center at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23. Reporters are
welcome to attend the full conference, or just the press briefing.
Please register at http://consensus.nih.gov/ or
call (301) 496-4819 for more information.
The complete conference agenda, including additional background
and logistical information, is available at http://consensus.nih.gov/.
All open conference sessions, including the press briefing, will
be webcast at http://videocast.nih.gov/.
The primary sponsors of this conference are the National Institute
on Aging and the Office of Medical Applications of Research, NIH.
Note to Radio Editors: An audio report of the conference
results will be available after 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 23 from
the NIH Radio News Service by calling 1-800-MED-DIAL (1-800-633-3425).
Note to TV Editors: The news conference at 2:00 p.m. on
Wednesday, March 23 will be broadcast live via satellite on the
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