Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) skin patches can carry a lower stroke risk than orally ingested tablets, new research suggests.
According to an article in the British Medical Journal, women using HRT patches with low doses of oestrogen represent a safer alternative to oral tablets.
However, patches with high levels of oestrogen are significantly more dangerous.
Researchers came to these conclusions after studying over 15,000 cases recorded on the General Practice Database, which holds the records of millions of family doctors across the UK.
When compared to those not receiving HRT treatment, low-dose patches had no effect on stroke risk, while oral tablets increased it by 25 to 30 per cent, while high-dose patches increased it by 88 per cent.
"Although these results alone do not represent definitive evidence … this study should encourage further research on the importance of the route of administration to define the role of transdermal oestrogens," the study concluded.
Every five minutes someone in the UK has a stroke, equating to around 150,000 cases each year, according to the Stroke Association.
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