CU Menopause Specialist Exposes Bioidentical Hormone Risks

Groundbreaking study warns millions of menopausal women not to use bioidentical compound hormones inappropriately promoted by Suzanne Somers and biomedical companies.

DENVER (April 4, 2016) – University of Colorado menopause expert, Nanette Santoro, MD, urges women not to fall prey to false claims of bioidentical hormone benefits and absence of risks, according to a scientific statement she coauthored for the Endocrine Society. The work combines years of research contributed by multiple organizations and physicians across the country, partly to combat a growing industry of companies and celebrity spokespersons selling these products.

According to Santoro, the report’s conclusion confirms previous medical beliefs and recommendations regarding the use of compound hormones to treat menopause symptoms. Her advice to the millions of menopausal women — don’t use them.

“The unregulated use of these hormones is not only ineffective, but also potentially dangerous for women who receive improperly mixed or even contaminated hormone combinations,” said Santoro. “It’s time to take stock of exactly what you are putting into your body and why.”

“Custom-compounded” bioidentical hormone therapies have recently been popularized by the celebrity Suzanne Somers and other companies as a way to treat menopause symptoms “naturally.” This sounds inviting to the estimated 6,000 U.S. women who reach menopause every day. Somers and others go further, claiming incredible benefits from bioidentical hormones, including their reduction in risk of heart attack, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

But the report by Santoro and colleagues refutes such claims. Bioidentical hormones are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are created by compounding pharmacies, which are subject to relatively few regulations. The products are not held to the high standard of manufacture that FDA approved drugs meet.

According to the statement released on April 1, 2016, “The Endocrine Society, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Society for Reproductive Medicine and North American Menopause Society have all concluded that there is no scientific evidence to support claims of increased efficacy or safety for custom compounded bioidentical estrogen or progesterone regimens over FDA-approved hormone therapies.”

Compounding of hormones is not fully regulated by either state or federal agents. Santoro says that custom-compounded therapies’ lack of quality assurance puts patients at significant risk of harm from under-dosing, overdosing or contaminations that can result in illnesses. FDA-approved hormone therapies for menopause are closely studied and monitored and must be administered under the supervision of a physician.

The statement continues to recommend that the use of compounded hormone therapies should be limited to individual situations in which no FDA-approved products are available.

“Women need to stop falling victim to the false claims of bioidentical hormones for both their physical and financial health,” said Santoro.

For more information on bioidentical hormones, read Santoro’s blog posts on bioidentical hormone background and predatory methods of treating menopause.

About University of Colorado OB-GYN & Family Planning

University of Colorado OB-GYN & Family Planning is one of the most diversified OB-GYN practices in the Denver area. Notable services at our women’s health clinics include university hospital care with a private practice model, women’s health research & studies, contraception, pregnancy care, infertility treatment, VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), & menopause treatment.