Dramatic change in prescribing of hormone replacement therapy in the Netherlands after publication of the Million Women Study: a follow-up study

Authors

  • Adrianne Faber,

    1. Groningen University Institute for Drug Exploration (GUIDE), University of Groningen, Department of Social Pharmacy, Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacotherapy, Groningen,
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  • Marcel L. Bouvy,

    1. SIR Institute for Pharmacy Practice Research, Leiden, and
    2. Department of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacotherapy, Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
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  • Linda Loskamp,

    1. Groningen University Institute for Drug Exploration (GUIDE), University of Groningen, Department of Social Pharmacy, Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacotherapy, Groningen,
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  • Paul B. Van De Berg,

    1. Groningen University Institute for Drug Exploration (GUIDE), University of Groningen, Department of Social Pharmacy, Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacotherapy, Groningen,
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  • Toine C. G. Egberts,

    1. Department of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacotherapy, Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
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  • Lolkje T. W. De Jong-van den Berg

    Corresponding author
    1. Groningen University Institute for Drug Exploration (GUIDE), University of Groningen, Department of Social Pharmacy, Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacotherapy, Groningen,
      Lolkje T. W. de Jong-van den Berg, Groningen University Institute for Drug Exploration (GUIDE), University of Groningen, Department of Social Pharmacy, Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacotherapy, Antonius Deusinglaan 1, 9713 AV Groningen, the Netherlands. E-mail:l.t.w.de.jong-van.den.berg@rug.nl
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Lolkje T. W. de Jong-van den Berg, Groningen University Institute for Drug Exploration (GUIDE), University of Groningen, Department of Social Pharmacy, Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacotherapy, Antonius Deusinglaan 1, 9713 AV Groningen, the Netherlands. E-mail:l.t.w.de.jong-van.den.berg@rug.nl

Abstract

Aims

To estimate the diffusion of new safety information concerning postmenopausal hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) into prescribing practice in the Netherlands and to assess the impact of revised guidelines on the long-term treatment of HRT.

Design

Cross-sectional study.

Setting

Community pharmacy dispensing data from a population of approximately 450 000 patients in the northern and eastern part of the Netherlands.

Population

Women aged 45–69 years to whom at least one HRT prescription was dispensed between 1 January 2000 and 1 January 2004.

Main outcome measures

Annual and quarter prevalences of HRT and the proportion of new HRT users, switchers and continuous HRT users per quarter.

Results

The prevalence of HRT prescribing decreased significantly from 107/1000 [95% confidence interval (CI) 104, 110] in 2000 to 87/1000 (95% CI 84, 89) in 2003. The decreasing prevalence was especially evident among the younger age groups and was most pronounced among users of oestrogen/progestagen combinations. The publication of the Women Health Initiative Study (WHI) was followed by a modest decrease in prescribing of HRT, whereas prescribing of HRT declined dramatically after publication of the Million Women Study (MWS) in August 2003. Among the continuous HRT users in the 4th quarter of 2002, 55% used HRT longer than 3 years. This percentage was 53 in the 4th quarter of 2003.

Conclusions

In contrast to the release of the WHI study results, publication of the MWS was followed by a dramatic fall in prescribing of HRT in the Netherlands. Despite the new recommendation that long-term HRT use should be discouraged, the proportion of long-term users did not change after the publication of the MWS.

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