On October 2, WHI investigators, led by Dr. JoAnn Manson, published a comprehensive article on the overall findings of the two WHI hormone trials in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Although most of these results have been previously published, they appeared scattered in nearly 120 papers. These prior reports were generally more focused analyses, showing the effects of one of the two types of hormones tested on one specific disease or health condition in isolation. Now, for the first time, WHI is presenting all of the major health effects of hormone therapy in one document, with side-by-side comparisons of Estrogen-plus-Progestin and Estrogen-Alone for cardiovascular disease, cancers, fractures, diabetes, gall bladder disease, and several quality of life measures, both during the trials and several years after participants stopped taking study hormone pills. Secondary analyses also show results by age group at time of WHI enrollment.
An editorial, written by Dr. Elizabeth Nabel, President of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Former Director of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, accompanied the WHI report. Entitled “The Women’s Health Initiative—A victory for women and their health”, Dr. Nabel briefly recounted the history of the program and the many lessons learned. “The history of medicine abounds with dogmas assumed and later overcome. Nowhere is that dynamic more evident than in women’s health, ” she states. In fact, “Twenty-two years following its inception, the WHI is a model for publicly funded rigorous, thorough, and objective clinical trials that have broadly affected human health. “
On October 29, WHI will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first woman to be enrolled in WHI. This compendium of data, one of the largest papers every published by JAMA, is a wonderful tribute to our participants and provides an opportunity to acknowledge again the 160 000 women of WHI who gave so much to help data triumph overcome dogma.
More information is available by viewing the Executive Summary and Questions and Answers.