Book Review

HRT: The Answers. A Concise Guide for Solving the Hormone Replacement Therapy Puzzle

Pamela Wartian Smith, MD, MPH
Healthy Living Books, Inc.

Written in layman’s terms, this book is a concise guide for the consumer who is seeking information about customized, natural hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

This book is like an updated version of Jonathan Wright’s Natural Hormone Replacement for Women Over 45 (Ronin Publishing, California), written in 1997. Dr. Smith does a good job of explaining the results of the government-sponsored Women’s Health Initiative in layman’s terms. Women with doubts and fears about taking HRT will feel much more comfortable with compounded bioidentical hormone replacement therapy after reading this book. Like Wright’s book, it is short (116 pages, large font), easy to read and patient-friendly. However, Smith’s book is broader in scope and not so focused on politics.

Chapters are concise and to the point, each containing only a few pages. Topics include estrogen, estrogen metabolism, estrogen/progesterone ratio, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, cortisol, insulin, thyroid, melatonin, pregnenolone, prolactin, detoxification, osteoporosis, heart disease, nutrition, birth control pills, weight gain, herbal therapies, salivary testing and compounded hormones.

You may want to check the reference list before deciding if you want to stock the book—or give a disclaimer before recommending it. Smith’s reference list is short and contains only select retailers in certain areas, some of which may not be companies you recommend, or may even be competitors. For instance, she does not mention the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists (IACP) as a resource for finding a compounding pharmacist, and she only lists 12 pharmacies, many of which are mail-order companies. Smith also only lists one laboratory as a reference.

This book is also extremely hard to find for the consumer. Unless you stock it in your pharmacy or you buy it direct, you won’t find it very easily. None of the major online retailers carry it, and used copies are extremely overpriced. So don’t tell your patients to look for it at a bookstore! Overall, Smith’s book is good, but be sure to read it before recommending it to make sure that you agree with everything she promotes. Otherwise, your patient may come back with more questions than you bargained for.

Reviewed By:  Dana Reed-Kane, PharmD, FIACP, FACA, FCP, NFPPhC
In:  Nov/Dec 2004