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What factors account for hormone replacement therapy prescribing frequency?

  • Author(s): Newton, KM
  • LaCroix, AZ
  • Buist, DS
  • Anderson, LA
  • Delaney, K
  • et al.

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The purpose of this study was to compare hormone replacement therapy (HRT) prescribing frequency to provider characteristics, attitudes and beliefs about menopause and HRT.


There was a mailed survey of providers at a large staff-model HMO in Washington state. Participants included 250 family practice physicians, 22 gynecologists, and 13 women's health care specialists and nurse midwives (83% response rate). The primary outcome, "HRT prescribing frequency" (derived from automated pharmacy and visit data) was defined as: the total number of estrogen prescriptions written by the provider and filled by women aged 50-80 years during the 12 months prior to the survey, divided by the number of visits made to the provider by women aged 50-80 years during that same 12-month period. Covariates included provider characteristics and beliefs about menopause and HRT. Logistic regression was used to distinguish providers in the upper 40% versus the lower 60% of HRT prescribing frequency.


Controlling for age and practice type, HRT prescribing frequency was lower among men than women providers (odds ratio [OR] 0.38, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.21-0.65), higher among providers who agreed (vs. disagreed or neutral) that a convincing scientific case has been made that HRT prevents heart disease (OR 2.66, 95% CI 1.53-4.61), and higher among those in the upper tertile vs. lower tertiles of an HRT encouragement scale (OR 2.50, 95% CI 1.29-4.85).


Female providers and providers with positive attitudes toward HRT are the most likely to prescribe it.

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