HRT use in 2001 and 2004 in The Netherlands--a world of difference

Maturitas. 2006 May 20;54(2):193-7. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2005.10.010.


Objective: Did the publication of the Women Health Initiative (WHI) trial in 2002 and the Million Women Study (MWS) in 2003 lead to changes in prescription rates of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Therefore, we compare the prescribing of HRT in 2004 (after) with that of 2001 (before the publications) in The Netherlands.

Method: Community pharmacy dispensing data from a population of approximately 500,000 patients in The Netherlands. Women aged 40-74 years to whom at least one HRT prescription was dispensed in 2001 or 2004 were included. Annual prevalences of HRT in 2001 and 2004 and the percentage change (2004 versus 2001) were calculated for overall HRT (excluding vaginal products) and per HRT category (combined estrogens and progestagens, estrogens only, tibolon and vaginal preparations) and age category.

Results: In 2001, 5.64% of the women aged 40-74 used HRT and this percentage declined to 2.39 in 2004. The use of vaginal products among these women did not change, 1.76% in 2001 and 1.65% in 2004. The percentage change was highest in the opposed HRT group (66% decrease) and in women aged 50-54 (64.4% decrease). In 2004, compared with 2001, the proportion of long-term users (>3 year) increased with 12.7%.

Conclusions: In The Netherlands, after publication of the WHI study and the MWS the prescribing of HRT fell dramatically whereas the prescribing of vaginal products did not change. Future patterns of HRT use should be monitored to know whether this decrease will be sustained.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy / methods
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy / trends
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands