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Oestrogen-only HRT may raise asthma risk

Postmenopausal women who used oestrogen-only HRT had a significant increase in risk of developing asthma according to a recent study

Results from a recent study show that postmenopausal women who used oestrogen-only hormone replacement therapy (HRT) had a significant increase in risk of developing asthma, compared with women who had never used HRT.

The study, conducted by French researchers and published in the journal Thorax, involved around 57,500 women, none of whom had asthma before the menopause at the start of the trial in 1990. During the course of the next 12 years, 569 women developed asthma.

The research showed that women who took oestrogen-only HRT had a 54 per cent increase in risk of developing asthma compared to non-users. And overall, those who took any form of HRT had a "non-significant" 21 per cent increase of developing the respiratory disorder compared to those who have never taken the therapies.

Director of Asthma UK, Leanne Metcalf, said: "This is the first large-scale and long-term study to suggest that it is oestrogen-only HRT which significantly increases the risk [of asthma]."

However, the authors stressed that the findings should be viewed "in the light of all the other health effects of HRT use," which include quality of life improvements.

9th February 2010

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