Confounding a widely held impression, a large US government study has found that hormone therapy for menopause does not affect quality of life. Women taking the drugs did not feel more energetic, or have more sexual pleasure or even more restful sleep. They were not less depressed, their minds were no clearer and their memories did not appear to have improved.
It is, medical experts say, a striking development in what has been a precipitous reversal of fortune for hormone therapy. Just when women and their doctors were coming to terms with the idea that the drugs can carry health risks, now the same study of 16,608 women that found those problems says that while the drugs somewhat diminished hot flashes and night sweats in a subgroup of women, they were no better than placebos in improving other measures of quality of life.
“It is just stunning,” said Cindy Pearson, executive director of the National Women’s Health Network. Pearson said so many women had told her the drugs made them feel better that she assumed it was true.
“Even if you train yourself to think, ^placebo effect, anecdotal evidence,’ if you hear it often enough you begin to think that maybe it’s true,” she said.
The New York Times