NIH News Advisory
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
Office of the Director

Office of Research on
Women's Health (ORWH)


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 2, 2002
Contact:
OD Office of Communications
(301) 496-5787

Office of Research on
Women’s Health
Ellyn Pollack
(301) 402-1770

NIH Convenes Workshop on Menopausal Hormone Therapy

On October 23 and 24, 2002, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will hold a scientific workshop on Menopausal Hormone Therapy (HT) in the main auditorium of the William H. Natcher Conference Center on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland.

The purpose of the workshop is to review the results from one component of the NIH Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) clinical trial. This study of the use of combination estrogen and progestin in postmenopausal women was halted recently due to an increased risk of invasive breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. Data from this arm of the WHI on cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, breast and colon cancer will be reviewed. “We need to communicate the implications of the current knowledge so that women and their physicians can make informed decisions on short- and long-term use of HT,” said Dr. Elias Zerhouni, NIH Director. Other studies of the WHI are being continued, including a clinical trial of the use of estrogen alone.

“The workshop will place the results of this component of the WHI in the context of other completed and ongoing Federally funded research on menopausal combination hormone therapy, along with recent considerations regarding the continuation or cessation of studies using postmenopausal combined hormone therapy, ” explains Dr. Ruth Kirschstein, NIH Deputy Director. “The results of this meeting should be extremely valuable since millions of women in this country are taking HT — previously known as HRT.”

Other Federal agencies will also provide their perspective on what is and is not known about the mechanisms of action of the breadth of products that are approved to treat and prevent conditions associated with menopause, and the most recent information on hormone therapy and its use for chronic disease. During this meeting, the United States Preventive Services Task Force is also expected to present its recommendations regarding the use of HT, based upon current reports in the literature.

The workshop will also provide information about alternatives to HT for preventing or treating specific conditions such as osteoporosis, heart disease, and vasomotor symptoms that include mood and sleep disorders.

Sessions will run from 8:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. on October 23 and 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on October 24 and will include audience discussion. On the afternoon of the 24th, there will be brief presentations by individuals and members of professional and advocacy organizations regarding implications of the results of this component of the WHI for clinical decision making and for future research.

Advance registration is required as seating is limited. The registration form and agenda are online at http://www4.od.nih.gov/orwh. There will be a separate room available for members of the press. The workshop will also be webcast at http://videocast.nih.gov/.