Study Objective. To determine the number of women who have menopausal symptoms after discontinuing hormone therapy to determine how many of these women subsequently require nonhormonal alternatives to manage their symptoms, and to assess the effectiveness of those therapies.
Design. One-year retrospective study.
Setting. Department of Family Medicine outpatient clinic at a university medical center.
Patients. From 378 postmenopausal women who discontinued hormone therapy between August 1, 2002, and August 31, 2003, we randomly selected 78 using electronic medical records to provide a sample with a 95% confidence interval and a 10% margin of error.
Measurements and Main Results. Reasons why the women discontinued therapy and any nonhormonal alternative therapies that they may have used to manage subsequent menopausal symptoms were recorded. The primary investigator contacted the 78 women to complete a telephone survey. In most women, at least one menopausal symptom recurred. Vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes) were most common and occurred in 41 (53%) women. In addition, 59 (76%) women reported using nonhormonal alternative therapies, and 40 (68%) of this group deemed the alternatives helpful.
Conclusion. We strongly believe that health care providers, including pharmacists, must continue to communicate with and educate women regarding treatment options for menopausal symptoms. Clinical pharmacists are ideally suited to contribute to ongoing research in this area.