Prempro bad-boy story continues this time with lung cancer
This from our esteemed colleague Andrew Pollack at NYT: WHI reports that Prempro amplifies the risk of lung cancer in smokers. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/31/health/research/31cancer.html?ref=glob... Well the women I see tend to have stopped using Prempro. My mother-in-law has been instructive: I got her to stop using Prempro a few years ago but she has gone back on Premarin alone and will only relinquish the medicine out of her cold dead hands I suspect. The issue here is the results of the Women's Health Initiative released in 2002. The report showed the combination of estrogen and progestin found in Prempro increases the risk of breast cancer stroke and coronary disease. Women seem to have sharply reduced the use of these drugs. Estimates are that Prempro sales have been cut in half though I do not have access to hard numbers from where I sit. Here's a link with some numbers for what it's worth. Pollack has an attribution from Dr. Otis Brawley questioning the statistical meaning of the results but I think the real story here is that Prempro has already lost a lot of credibility. We don't have any information here about the impact of Premarin alone on lung cancer. This is probably more relevant since many women especially those without a uterus are still using estrogen-only meds like Premarin. I suspect the UCLA researchers didn't find much so went with the Prempro story. The fact that this is the lead story out of ASCO this year does not bode well for the conference in general. I am hoping we get some more useful findings this year than we have seen so far.