Objective: To identify factors associated with long-term hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and reasons for early discontinuation of it.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in four United Kingdom group general practices. Six hundred fifteen past or present HRT users (representing a response rate of 66%) responded to questionnaires on HRT and potential determinants of long-term use. Main outcome measures were long-term HRT use (at least 6 years) as opposed to short-term use (at most 2 years) and self-reported reasons for discontinuation. Odds ratios (ORs) of long-term use were adjusted for age and other variables, in the same groups, calculated by logistic regression and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
Results: Ovariectomy (OR 2.59, 95% CI 1.12, 5.97), hysterectomy (OR 2.28, 95% CI 1.37, 3.79), previous oral contraceptive use (OR 1.76, 95% CI 1. 03, 3.01), HRT prescription to prevent osteoporosis (OR 1.81, 95% CI 1.04, 3.13), opinion that HRT prevents health problems (OR 3.22, 95% CI 1.57, 6.63), opinion that HRT is associated with health risks (OR 0.23, 95% CI 0.08, 0.65), and opinion that HRT has cosmetic benefits (OR 2.52, 95% CI 1.45, 4.40) were statistically significantly associated with long-term HRT. Women surveyed most often reported side effects and weight gain (each about 30%) as reasons for discontinuation, followed by possible health risks and dislike of menstrual bleeding or hormones (each about 15%).
Conclusion: Ovariectomy, hysterectomy, and opinions about benefits and disadvantages of HRT were the most important determinants of long-term use, whereas women themselves mentioned side effects and weight gain most frequently as reasons for discontinuing it.