Estrogen-Progestin Use Varied Over 40 Years

(HealthDay News) — The use of estrogen-progestin has varied over the past 40 years, peaking in the 1990s and declining in the early 2000s, according to a study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Patricia I. Jewett, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and colleagues integrated data on oral estrogen-progestin use from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999 to 2010) with data from the National Prescription Audit (1970 to 2003). Long-term trends in estrogen-progestin prevalence were estimated for 1970 to 2010.

The estimated prevalence of oral estrogen-progestin was below 0.5% in the 1970s and began to rise in the early 1980s, the researchers found. Between 1990 and the late 1990s the estimated prevalence almost tripled. 

For women aged 45 to 64 years, the age-adjusted prevalence peaked at 13.5% in 1999, with highest use among women aged 57 years (23.3%). In the early 2000s, the prevalence of estrogen-progestin use declined dramatically, with use estimated at 2.7% for women aged 45 to 64 years in 2010, comparable to prevalence in the mid-1980s.

“The dramatic rise and fall of estrogen-progestin use over the past 40 years provides an illuminating case study of prescription practices before, during, and after the development of evidence regarding benefits and harms,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Jewett PI et al. Obstet Gynecol. 2014;doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000000469.