For those who are interested in menopause medicine, the year 2012 marked the 10-year anniversary of the first exposure of the world to the WHI data. It is true that we know now that the preliminary results of the WHI were wrongly generalized and that age at initiation of hormone therapy, recency of menopause, duration of hormone use and the exact type and dosage of medication, as well as individual clinical data, may have a substantial impact on the benefit–risk balance. Have we come a full circle, getting away from the negative sentiment and fears that resulted from the mis-interpretation of the initial WHI results? A 2012 survey commissioned by the Endocrine Society showed that 66% of women did not discuss menopause with their primary health-care provider or their gynecologist, and that 62% expressed concern about the side-effects of hormone therapy ([i]Endocrine News[/i], November 2012). Evidently, this means that we are not doing enough to educate the physicians and the public, either directly or through the media, to better understand the complex of postmenopausal hormone therapy. The International Menopause Society is able to provide education by producing recommendations on hormone use and arranging sessions on menopause in various conferences through our World School for the Study of Menopause (WSSM). The Society also updates its members on recently published relevant articles through the weekly [i]Menopause Live[/i] commentaries (numbering almost 200 by now, as well as a Spanish version), and the monthly e-bulletin and literature search, [i]Our Menopause World[/i] (about 40 to date). We would be happy to expand the IMS website and include a full course on menopause with accreditation, updated slide presentations, patient sections with relevant information and Q&A service but, unfortunately, having limited resources, it is not possible at the moment.
So. what is expected in 2013? First, as a result of a successful meeting of representatives of many menopause societies, as well as several other major organizations interested in this field, the IMS is leading and finalizing a global consensus on the use of postmenopausal hormones, scheduled to be published in early 2013. In addition, the IMS recommendations on hormone therapy are being updated and publication in [i]Climacteric[/i] is expected next April. We urge the national societies to use these materials (which may be translated into local languages) and create awareness of the correct, unbiased interpretation of the clinical data. Our WSSM School is at your disposal, please use its services. As individual members of the IMS, you are welcome to be involved either by sending us news or comments, or expressing your wish to write a piece for [i]Menopause Live[/i]. All these contributions are much appreciated.
Jean Wright and I wish you and your families a happy and healthy Year 2013.