Objective: The results of the Women’s Health Initiative led to a sharp decline in postmenopausal hormone therapy use. Subsequently, treatment guidelines were revised to recommend hormone therapy at the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible duration. The objective of this analysis was to assess trends in nationwide hormone therapy prescription claims from 2002 to 2009.
Methods: This study was a retrospective database analyses of pharmacy claims from MedImpact Healthcare Systems Inc. Data from women with claims for oral or transdermal hormone therapy were analyzed to assess trends in hormone therapy claims, including route of administration, dose, and physician specialty.
Results: By the end of 2002, the total number of hormone therapy claims dropped approximately 30% from 2002 second quarter claims. This trend continued during the next 7 years, and by 2009, hormone therapy claims were reduced by more than 70%. The proportion of low--dose oral claims rose fourfold, whereas the proportion of standard/high-dose claims decreased 30%. The proportion of claims for transdermal formulations more than doubled, and the proportion of claims for low-dose transdermal hormone therapy increased 10-fold. Although reductions in overall claims, routes of administration, and dose categories were similar between physician specialties, obstetrician/gynecologists prescribed transdermal hormone therapy nearly twice as often as all other types of providers.
Conclusions: Since the publication of the Women’s Health Initiative results, there has been a sustained decrease in hormone therapy claims. The proportional use of low-dose oral and transdermal formulations has increased, but as of 2009, claims for these formulations accounted for approximately one in four total hormone therapy claims.