Hormone replacement therapy for post-menopausal women with diabetes mellitus

Suzanne Palin, Sudhesh Kumar, David Sturdee, Anthony Barnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Recent studies have shown only 17% of postmenopausal women in the UK receive prescriptions for hormone replacement therapy (HRT), with diabetic women being prescribed HRT 30% less often than non-diabetic women. Up to 80% of women experience menopausal symptoms, however, so it is expected that by using HRT many would gain benefit from symptom relief, in addition to benefiting from its effects in disease prophylaxis. Methods: We conducted a questionnaire survey of the attitudes to HRT prescribing of 178 local general practitioners (GPs) and 47 hospital doctors, working in diabetes and gynaecology. Results: Responses were received from 98 (55%) GPs and 39 (83%) hospital doctors. One hundred and thirty-six (99%) would advise HRT for menopausal symptoms, with 133 (97%) advising HRT for a spontaneous premature menopause and 126 (92%) for a surgically induced menopause. One hundred and thirty-four (98%) would advise HRT for diabetic women with menopausal symptoms, with 122 (89%) indicating that HRT had no adverse effect on glycaemic control. For disease prophylaxis, all hospital doctors and 93 (95%) GPs would advise HRT for prevention of osteoporosis, although only 91 (93%) GPs would advise HRT to diabetic women for this indication. Thirty-three (85%) hospital doctors would advise HRT as prophylaxis against cardiovascular disease compared with 66 (67%) of GPs. For this indication in diabetic women. 32 (82%) hospital doctors and 67 (68%) GPs would advise HRT. Oral HRT was the most widely recommended preparation although GPs also frequently recommended patches. Topical gel, implants and other preparations were less commonly advised. Hospital doctors predominantly advised HRT for menopausal symptoms to be continued for between 1 and 5 years, although more GPs recommended HRT to be continued for longer than 5 years. The majority of doctors from both groups advised that HRT used for disease prophylaxis be continued for more than 5 years. Conclusion: More doctors than anticipated indicated they would recommend HRT, especially to diabetic women. Concerns among doctors about the side-effects of HRT and, in particular, the metabolic effects of HRT, do not appear to deter them from advising HRT. Willingness to prescribe a drug, however, is different from actually prescribing it and responses to questionnaires tend to be those regarded as being acceptable. Low patient demand for HRT due to fear or lack of awareness may also be contributing. Organizational change with the development of more menopause clinics may facilitate wider use of HRT.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-193
Number of pages7
JournalDiabetes, Obesity and Metabolism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2001


  • diabetes
  • postmenopausal women
  • prescribing
  • hormone replacement therapy
  • attitudes


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