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Blood clot risk affects menopause treatment

In a column in the Chicago Tribune, Joan Bengtson, M.D., gives advice on dealing with menopausal hot flashes when a risk of blood clots is present.

The woman seeking advice was diagnosed with a blood clot in her leg while using a hormone patch. Bengston writes that estrogen is the most effective prescription medicine for relieving hot flashes, but many women can’t take estrogen because of side effects including the formation of blood clots.

Estradiol, a form of estrogen, is often prescribed in combination with the artificial hormone drospirenone to relieve hot flashes. Drospirenone, a component of the Yasmin line of birth control pills, is itself a risk factor for blood clots.

Numerous studies show that oral contraceptives containing drospirenone – which include Yasmin, Yaz, Beyaz and Ocella – carry up to three times the risk of blood clots compared to other types of birth control pills on the market.

Bengston advises that the number of menopausal hot flashes usually goes down with time, so the letter-writer may wait to see if they improve on their own while taking measures such as dressing in layers, staying well hydrated and maintaining a program of vigorous exercise.

She also advises the letter-writer to look into some alternate prescriptions and natural products that may help relieve the hot flashes.

Patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their medication. A consultation with a Beyaz lawyer is also important if there are significant injuries.

See the column here:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/sns-201206061400–tms–harvmedctnme-a20120606-20120606,0,742192.story