The Medical Journal of Australia’s badly trained puppy has left a puddle on the carpet

Yesterday, the 6minutes Newsletter, a mouthpiece for the Medical Journal of Australia and a supposed source of reliable information for Australian doctors, published an exceptionally substandard article on hormone replacement therapy for women. It is so riddled with errors, it is hard to know where to start the criticism.

Here’s the link: http://www.6minutes.com.au/news/latest-news/safe-therapies-underused-in-menopausal-women

Let me begin by saying that The 6minutes Newsletter publishes material that seems to have no one in charge filtering the substantive parts of the information database they mine from the accompanying rubbish that floods into the medical information system every single day. This poses a massive dilemma for medical practitioners who see conflicting data appear almost in each alternate publication. What is a doc to do?

Here are examples: HRT okay for over 65s; HRT useless for CVD in older women; HRT linked to ovarian cancer.  Yes, the bad puppy published this lot of confusing articles. Yes, really!

So, when you consult with a woman in a discussion on HRT, do you flip a coin or consult a soothsayer to determine what treatment you might use? Or do you gaze at the moon and the zodiac signs –or study other astrological features????

The idea of using anti-depressants, SSRIs, to act in place of real hormones is too silly to believe but that’s sadly is what is happening all over the world, leading to increased appetites, wrong food choices and obesity in the users of these drugs. Oh, and are the women being served well? SSRIs are efficacious? They prevent the detrimental effects of estrogen deficiency?  Who could have guessed that they were as effective as hormones? Really!!!

 In the article quoted by the yapping naughty puppy, lead researcher Dr Roisin Worsley said ‘some patients may be fearful of the breast cancer risk associated with hormone replacement therapy, even though the overall benefits outweigh the risks.’ Huh?

Mmmm….  the breast cancer risk has been examined many times and has been found to be lacking. Not to worry… next—

Of compounding pharmacy supplied medications she added: ‘It’s (sic) not regulated (compounding pharmacies) to the same standards as conventional medicine. (That is nothing to feel good about!).  It’s hard to know when the hormone is compounded (Does she mean the time of day, or when the prescription is dispensed?)  and whether you are getting the same dose each time, especially for endometrial safety.’ What does ‘endometrial safety’ mean? Mini AKA 47’s hidden in the vagina aimed at the lining of the uterus?

Dr Worsley goes on to say that there needs to be more safety data before compounded hormones can be used as a therapy for menopausal women. Read on, fearless reader–

–So, the researchers were concerned about the fluctuating levels of hormone that always occur in the blood, simply because the dosing from the cream applied each day is not as precise as that of a manufactured, oral drug: you know, the horse-pee derived estrogens.  Of course, orally ingested tablets are not absorbed equally every day either, depending on when and how they are taken: with or without food and drink. This small item seems to have slipped by the researchers. On top of that, healthy fertile women have estrogen levels that vary by as much as 2000% during a menstrual cycle!!!

Completely incompetent compounding by pharmacies and inefficient application of the estrogen cream could never lead to the same sort of natural variation found in a menstrual cycle. And progesterone has a similar variation throughout the menstrual cycle.

The Monash researchers called for more studies on compounded hormones.  There is no need for such studies as far as safety goes when comparing them to drug junk because those studies have already been done and are published. 

Here is a summary from one such study: ‘A comprehensive review of the safety and efficacy of bioidentical hormones for the management of menopause and related health risks.’

“The author advocates for continued research on bioidentical hormones and concludes there is currently sufficient evidence to support their preferred use over that of their synthetic cousins.”   http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17217322

HELLO!!!! READ THAT AGAIN and say Hallelujah!

Typically, calling for more studies is secret medical industry code for keeping competing products from being approved and off the market while researchers get continual funding from the drug companies to combat the truth, ensuring a healthy fiscal milieu in the researchers’ department for decades to come.

Because there is no money to be made from the sale of bio-identical hormones (BHRT) compared to ‘regular’ drugs, there will never be properly conducted studies on BHRT. The drug companies certainly won’t fund them! So who will?  Yep– you got it.