You may have seen in the news: ‘Taking HRT pills to cope with the menopause doubles the risk of suffering dangerous blood clots, research suggests.’

Our Menopause Specialist Dr Julie Ayres from Nuffield Health Leeds Hospital comments on the story: 

"The doubling in risk of VTE (venous thromboembolism, a condition in which blood clots form, most often in the deep veins of the leg such as DVT), associated with HRT, has been well established and documented for many years. For most healthy women, certainly up to 50 if not 60 years of age, the background risk of VTE is so low that even a doubling in that risk is still low.

The 2015 NICE guidance makes reference that patches and gels are safer than tablets, however, this can be often overlooked by prescribers. The Daily Mail article confirms and also raises awareness of the fact that HRT, in transdermal form (by patch or gel), is much safer than many prescribers believed.

NICE Guidelines state:

NICE guidance NG23

Venous thromboembolism 

1.5.1 Explain to women that:

  • the risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) is increased by oral HRT compared with baseline population risk
  • the risk of VTE associated with HRT is greater for oral than transdermal preparations
  • the risk associated with transdermal HRT given at standard therapeutic doses is no greater than baseline population risk.

1.5.2 Consider transdermal rather than oral HRT for menopausal women who are at increased risk of VTE, including those with a BMI over 30 kg/m2."

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About Dr Julie Ayres

Following GP training, Dr Ayres has more than 20 years experience in NHS menopause clinics and for more than 10 years has offered women private consultations.

Dr Julie Ayres holds a menopause clinic Thursday and Friday mornings at Nuffield Health Leeds Hospital. To book call: 0113 388 2067

Find out more about Dr Julie Ayres