- Figures show the number of HRT prescriptions has skyrocketed in the last year
Menopausal women should not be prescribed HRT for depression, according to landmark guidance.
An increasing number of women are turning to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to relieve the distressing symptoms of menopause.
Recent figures show that the number of HRT prescriptions has soared in the last year, up 47 per cent compared to 2021/22.
But in a new menopause “toolkit,” experts say clinical depression is not a condition that should be treated simply with hormones as a cure.
Recent figures show the number of HRT prescriptions has soared in the last year, increasing by 47 per cent compared to 2021/22 (file photo)
The guidance, backed by the British Menopause Society and designed to be implemented worldwide, states that trials have found “no benefit of estrogen therapy on depressive symptoms… over placebo”.
While the drug is recommended to relieve physical symptoms such as night sweats and hot flashes, experts said clinical depression should be managed “in its own right.”
They added that women should consult their GP if they have worrying mental health problems, but doctors should not assume that depression in women of a certain age is caused by menopause.
Professor Susan Davis, from Monash University in Australia, led the development of the toolkit, which was featured in the journal Climacteric.
She said: “Menopause can cause symptoms such as low mood, anxiety, irritability and mood swings, but clinical depression should be assessed and treated on its own.”
“Menopause could exacerbate underlying depression, but should not be assumed to be the cause of clinical depression.”
Professor Davis added: “Low mood and anxiety or mood swings are common in menopause and most improve with estrogen, so these are indications for menopausal hormone therapy.
While the drug is recommended to relieve physical symptoms such as night sweats and hot flashes, experts said clinical depression should be managed “in its own right” (file photo)
HRT helps regulate falling estrogen levels and has been hailed by people like Davina McCall (pictured).
‘But clinical depression is not an illness that should be treated simply with hormones as a cure.
“We are trying to clarify this so that women with clinical depression receive appropriate treatment.”
The document, which replaces previous guidance published almost ten years ago, also suggests that HRT does not improve learning, thinking or memory.
HRT helps regulate falling estrogen levels and has been hailed by people like Davina McCall.
An independent study published yesterday also found that menopause can decrease certain aspects of memory.
The researchers found that the brain regions active during the formation and retrieval of particular memories were different in pre- and postmenopausal women.