An excellent read from Science-based medicine if you feel like you’re up for a true analysis on this topic. There are definite safety concerns and other things that should raise eyebrows.
Rockergirl – note the bit below on working out what is normal given the constant changes that occur. This probably explains why hormone therapy for migraine is not a first line or even 500th line treatment option in the US guidelines.
— Begin quote from ____
The whole “bioidentical” thing is a pseudoscientific concept: it is a marketing term rather than a scientifically meaningful one. Bioidenticals are promoted by celebrities like Suzanne Somers, a few maverick medical doctors like Kent Holtorf, proponents of “natural” medicine, patients who were frightened by the Women’s Health Initiative study of hormone replacement therapy, and critics of Big Pharma.
One of the biggest concerns is that “bioidenticals” are prepared in compounding pharmacies that are not regulated. The FDA has long been concerned about these pharmacies. In a 2006 survey, the potency ranged from 67.5% to 268.4% of the amount specified on the label, and there were variations within the same samples. Contaminants have also been found, including bacteria. Package inserts describing risks are required for FDA approved products but not for compounding pharmacy products.
Advocates claim that bioidenticals are safer than pharmaceuticals, but since they are essentially the same compounds, there is every reason to think they would have the same side effects. At least 3 cases of endometrial cancer have been reported in women taking bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
Critics complain that Big Pharma is profit-motivated. Interestingly, bioidenticals are more expensive than the Big Pharma versions of the same hormones and they are not covered by insurance.
Proponents speak of individualising dosage to “balance” the hormones, but I can’t understand how they could ever hope to do that. The body produces several different hormones and the amount of each varies according to the stage of the menstrual cycle. With each constantly going up or down, how could you define balance or hope to mimic the natural state?
“Bioidentical” hormones may satisfy some of the psychological needs of people like Suzanne Somers, but they don’t satisfy the requirements of science-based medicine or even of common sense.
— End quote
And in the comments by the author:
“Most of the benefits Suzanne Somers claims for bioidentical hormones are not documented real physiological effects but due to placebo response, misinterpretation, or regression to the mean. The way advocates use them produces placebo responses, but these drugs are not just placebos because they also have serious physiological effects.”