Bioidentical hormones: Are they safer? – Mayo Clinic

Posted: May 4, 2015 at 12:08 pm

Are "bioidentical" or "natural" hormones safer and more effective than hormones used in traditional hormone therapy for menopause symptoms? Answers from Shannon K. Laughlin-Tommaso, M.D.

No, they aren't. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and several medical specialty groups, the hormones marketed as "bioidentical" and "natural" aren't safer than hormones used in traditional hormone therapy, and there's no evidence they're any more effective.

The term "bioidentical" means the hormones in the product are chemically identical to those your body produces. In fact, the hormones in bioidentical medications may not be any different from those in traditional hormone therapy. Several hormone therapy products approved by the FDA and prescribed by health care providers contain bioidentical hormones.

"Natural" means the hormones in the product come from plant or animal sources; they're not synthesized in a lab. However, many of these products still need to be commercially processed to become bioidentical. Traditional hormone therapies don't necessarily exclude natural hormones. Some FDA-approved products such as Estrace, Climara and Vivelle-Dot, which contain estrogens, and Prometrium, a natural progesterone also are derived from plants.

Marketers of bioidentical hormones say their products have certain advantages over traditional hormone therapy:

Some women may benefit from nonstandard doses and forms of hormones in bioidentical hormone preparations, but there is almost no scientific support for an advantage of these compounds over common commercially produced preparations.

With

Shannon K. Laughlin-Tommaso, M.D.

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Bioidentical hormones: Are they safer? - Mayo Clinic

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