In the beginning, that is from the 1960's, when a link between menopause and osteoporosis was first identified; estrogen treatment was the standard for preventing bone loss, however there was no fracture data, even though it was thought to be effective. This continued until the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) study in 2001 that published data on 6 years of treatment with hormone therapy that showed an increase in heart attacks and breast cancer. Even though the risks were small, 1 per 1500 users annually, patients were worried and there was a large drop off in estrogen use. In later analyses the WHI study showed that estrogen reduced fractures and actually prevented heart attacks in the 50-60 year age group. Estrogen alone appeared to be safer to use than estrogen + the progestin medroxyprogesterone acetate and actually reduced breast cancer.
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