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November 15, 2011

How Safe And Effective Is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy?

bioidentical hormone replacement therapy
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How Safe And Effective Is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Women crossing the threshold of menopause have been scared away from the use of hormone replacement therapy by reports showing standard HRT to trigger increased health risks. The findings have created a vacuum which bioidentical hormone replacement therapy or BHRT is hoping to fill. With some endorsements from celebrities, this HRT alternative is slowly winning the trust of some women in accompanying them into their journey into “the change.” But just how effective and safe is BHRT in addressing the menopausal syndrome? Read on to find out…

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy in Brief 

BHRT involves the use of hormones that are manufactured to be chemically identical to those that the human body produces, hence the term “bioidentical.” These hormones are obtained from plant chemicals and modified in the laboratory.

How Safe Is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Though FDA approved bioidentical hormones are available, many physicians in Age Management and/or Anti-Aging Medicine prefer to use hormones provided by a compounded pharmacy.  This better enables for individualization of hormonal treatment as the preparations are specifically made for one individual.  For a more detailed explanation of compounding pharmacies click here to see patient education information provided by MedQuest Pharmacy.

FDA approved bioidentical hormones include the Climara patch, Estrace, Prometrium natural progesterone, and Vivelle-Dot patch to name a few. So what makes BHRT safer than these HRT products that have natural sources?

You can get access to some bioidentical hormone therapy even without a prescription, although you will need a prescription for most products. There are BHRT products that require you to have your particular combination customized by a compounding pharmacy. This means that the combination you get from them has not been put through the same stringent quality assurance tests that commercially available hormone therapy products have to satisfy. This is one point against the use of bioidentica lhormones from compounding pharmacies, but compounded pharmacies are regulated at both the state and federal level and must follow guidelines set forth by the United States Pharmac0peia.  Click here to see a more detailed explanation provided by MedQuest Pharmacy.

How Effective Is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Mainstream physicians claim that bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is no more effective than traditional hormone replacement.  It’s unclear why they make those claims as there are a number of studies to show that bioidentical hormone therapy is as least as effective and in some cases even superior to traditional hormone replacement therapy. A good review article on that topic written by Kent Holtorf, MD can be found here.

See related articles.

“Having Hot Flashes?”

“Hormone Balance”

“Anti Aging Hormones”

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Dr. Joe Jacko


Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

  1. I agree– buying hormones provided by a compounding a pharmacy is much safer. I am a pre-pharmacy student and have personally shadowed a compounding pharmacy. You can be certain the pharmacist has a lot of experience and spends a lot of time thinking about how to make the easiest way a patient can take the hormones. Some even make them into a lotion since the hormones can be absorbed through the skin!

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