Research Article| Volume 55, ISSUE 4, P308-316, November 20, 2006

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The prescription of hormone replacement therapy in Spain: Differences between general practitioners and gynaecologists



      The purpose of this study was to determine the frequency with which hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was prescribed and to identify physician-related factors associated with the prescription of HRT in Spain.

      Study design

      A descriptive cross-sectional survey based on a personal interview with a structured questionnaire was conducted in April 2005 with physicians aged 25–65 years. A total of 2700 doctors were asked to participate in this prospective study (1350 GY and 1350 GP). This number included 270 gynaecologists (GY group) and 270 general practitioners (GP group).


      Only 10% of gynaecologists and 19.4% of GPs had never prescribed HRT. The reasons given for not prescribing HRT were adverse effects and the fear of cancer among GPs and adverse effects and social alarm in the GY group. Phytoestrogens were the most commonly used alternative; however, GPs were more willing to use antidepressants and benzodiazepines than GYs. The frequency of HRT prescription in symptomatic women was significantly higher among GYs. The main reasons for prescribing HRT were climacteric complaints and improvement in life quality for GYs and, climacteric complaints and the prevention of osteoporosis for GPs. Seventy-eight percent of GYs prescribing hormones referred a high degree of satisfaction with HRT, whereas only 50% of GPs expressed a similar attitude.


      Concern for HRT prescription in Spain is high. Adverse effects and the fear of cancer are negative conditioning factors in the prescription of HRT, whereas climacteric complaints, quality of life and the prevention of osteoporosis are positive conditioning factors. GYs are more willing to use HRT than GPs. This contrast may reflect the indecision of GPs regarding the preventive value of HRT.


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