“First do no harm” is a statement attributed to Hippocrates. Historically medical doctors took the Hippocratic oath as a commitment to ethical standards in the practice of medicine.. Today’s medicine seems to have forgotten Hippocrates. Instead of “first do no harm” the efficacy of treatment protocols and drugs are measured in terms of the risk to reward ratio. The premise is that if a treatment or drug doesn’t harm or kill too many people while helping a bunch, then it’s okay. The corporate entities who are making money from HRT and who have been caught red handed in their attempts to hide the ill effects of HRT definitely don’t care much about Hippocrates. Their motivation is clearly the money that they are raking in. Enough ranting, let’s look at the issue of hormone replacement therapy.
What is hormone replacement therapy (HRT)?
Hormone replacement therapy as the term is now being used in the media and by the medical community refers to the use of equine sources of estrogen and / or synthetic progesterone (called progestin) to “replace” human estrogen and progesterone. We are not talking replacing apples with apples. The estrogen found in the most commonly used HRT prescriptions (Premarin and Prempro) is from horses. It’s inhuman. Wyeth, the pharmaceutical company that has manufactured Premarin since 1942, cannot even say all of the chemicals that are in this extract of pregnant mare’s urine. With regard to progesterone, the progesterone being used in these drugs is not really progesterone. It is a lab synthesized molecule that has a somewhat similar structure to progesterone, but different. And in the microscopic world of our cells, this difference is critical.
HRT also refers to using the above mentioned hormones to relieve the symptoms and health deterioration associated with menopause. A deteriorating condition would be something like osteoporosis which is not entirely a product of menopause, but which can accelerate and become a real problem as a woman gets older.
What not just use bio-identical hormones?
Bio-identical hormones are exactly what nature makes in the human body. They can be synthesized in a laboratory to be exactly what nature made. This is what we call bio-identical. The $64,000,000 question then, is why don’t the major pharmaceutical companies make and distribute bio-identical hormones for doctors to give to their patients? The answer is that there is no money in it. Pharmaceutical companies cannot patent what nature has made. And without a patent they cannot have the exclusive right to it, and therefore cannot mark it up. (The mark up on drugs like Premarin and Prempro is very high, with mark up on many drugs upwards of 10,000%. Premarin is available in Europe for $8.95/100, in Canada for $22.46/100 in the United States for $55.42. Price variations for Jasa service kompor gas
Prempro are $5.75/28 in Europe, $14.33/28 in Canada and $31.09/28 in the United States). These price variations begin to reveal the profit margins pharmaceutical companies have with these drugs. They are really a cash cow for these companies.
The types of hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
HRT is a catchall term used to describe several combinations of hormone replacement. There are two general subcategories. There are drugs that contain horse estrogens and progestin (synthetic non-bio-identical progesterone) and those that contain just horse estrogens. The risks of these two different subcategories as reflected in many research studies, is different.
The types of risks associated with hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
Numerous risks have been shown to be associated with HRT. The risks include an increased risk for blood clotting, an increased risk for cancers of the breast, ovaries, lung and skin (malignant melanoma), increased risk for uterine bleeding, and increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
In 2002 a major study called the Women’s Health Initiative clarified the increased risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer for menopause age women taking HRT. Remember that I spoke of two subcategories of HRT, estrogen and progestin versus estrogen alone. The risks for breast, uterine and ovarian cancers differed depending on whether a woman was taking estrogen with progestin, or estrogen alone.