WEDNESDAY, Sept. 27, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Age, race, and education are the most prevalent disparities associated with menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) prescribing, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the North American Menopause Society, held from Sept. 27 to 30 in Philadelphia.
Danette Conklin, Ph.D., from University Hospitals in Cleveland, and colleagues conducted a scoping review of real-world studies to examine health care disparities in MHT prescribing based on demographic or clinical characteristics. The scoping review included 20 studies conducted from 1973 through 2015.
The researchers found that age, race, and education were the three most prevalent disparities associated with MHT. In 13 studies, age was associated with MHT disparities, with older women being prescribed, using, or being counseled on MHT more often than younger women in seven studies. In four studies, older women were prescribed, used, or were counseled on MHT less than younger women, while mixed results were seen in one study. Ten studies reported race disparities; all reported that Black women used, were prescribed, or were counseled less than their White, Mexican, Latina, or Asian counterparts. Compared with all other races, White women received/used MHT more often, with the exception of vaginal estrogen, which was prescribed to White women less than Hispanic menopausal women in one study. Six studies demonstrated educational disparities, with menopausal women with less versus more education counseled less and using or prescribed less MHT.
"This study reinforces that health care professionals must ask patients about their specific menopause symptoms so they can discuss the options that could help them improve their quality of life," Stephanie Faubion, M.D., medical director of the North American Menopause Society, said in a statement. "Black women should have the same access as White women to the available treatment options."