I am a board-certified physician who specializes in integrative metabolic medicine, meaning I take a whole-person wellness approach to treatment. As part of my treatment regimen, I may use bioidentical hormone therapy (BHT) to combat the debilitating symptoms of menopause suffered by millions of women. I also provide prescriptions primarily for compounded hormones to deliver only the minimum amount needed to eradicate symptoms and help my patients feel their best. It was therefore frustrating for me to read the article “The Hormone Hoax Thousands Fall For.” I feel duty bound to tell the other side of the BHT story. Women who need menopause symptom help can trust that BHT will relieve their symptoms without increasing risk of heart attack or breast cancer. The research is there to support this point, and more is in process at this writing. Now, I am the first to admit that there is a need to regulate compounding pharmacies. The ones I use have been accredited by the PCAB, and do frequent quality control testing. I wouldn’t use them if they didn’t. It is my sincerest hope that More’s sensationalistic article doesn’t cause too many women to forego a therapy that could make a dramatic difference in their health and quality of life.
--Paul Savage, MD, CEO and Founder of Ageology
As physician who has a burgeoning medical practice devoted entirely to bio identical hormone replacement therapy I find your article in the October 3013 More issue titled "the Hormone Hoax Thousands Fall For" completely biased against the use of compoounded bio identical hormones. You have presented only one view of an ongoing scientific/medical debate. I have treated thousands of women (and men as well) with compounded bio-identical hormone replacement therapy and seen dramatic improvements in their quality of life and health, myself included. I never tell patients compounded bio-identical hormones are safer than FDA approved bio-identical hormones. I inform them that it possible to balance the ratio of progesterone and estrogen more accurately when using the customized strengths and formulations that compounded pharmacies are able to produce. It is possible to minimize side effects when estrogen and progesterone are properly balanced. Hormone levels need to be measured periodically both to be sure the hormones are in proper range and remain balanced. It is much harder to get patients symptoms controlled and hormone levels optimally balanced using a FDA bio identical preparations as thy are dispensed in a few fixed dosages which are difficult to sometimes impossible to adjust to each individual. As physicians we are obligated to be familiar with the compounding pharmacies where we send patients. I only write prescriptions for compounding pharmacies that are regulated by the PCAB, do the monthly skip lot testing and repeatedly produce the highest quality hormones.
Yours in fitness and health,
--Judi Goldstone, MD
Your article about the dangers of testosterone pellets(October, 2013) was useful in bringing some concerns associated to the fore; however, perhaps you should have been more careful in your distinctions. Pellets which are compounded by individual pharmacies may not be regulated but many physicians, including our practice, use regulated and government approved pellets which have recently become available. There is no danger of impurity. The other side effects which you listed are potential side effects from any form of testosterone treatment. But if a patient works with a reputable and skilled physician’s office they should be regularly monitored and those side effects are rare. If they occur they are fully reversible.
I have personally seen the tremendous positive impact improved testosterone levels have on women. They feel more alive and their interest in sex improves. They report happier relationships, both with themselves and their partners! Scaring women out of treatments that might greatly improve their quality of life, and whose risks are minimal with proper follow up care, is perhaps not the most responsible of journalism.
--Bat Sheva Marcus, LMSW, MPH, PhD