Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 14, Issue 11, pp 663–669

Ethnic differences in hormone replacement prescribing patterns

  • Arleen F. Brown
  • Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable
  • Eric E. Whitaker
  • Samuel F. Posner
  • Mark Alexander
  • Julia Gathe
  • A. Eugene Washington


OBJECTIVE: To determine whether prescription patterns of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) differ in African-American, Asian, Latina, Soviet immigrant, and white women.

DESIGN: Retrospective review of computerized medical records.

SETTING: The general internal medicine, family medicine, and gynecology practices of an academic medical center.

PATIENTS: Women aged 50 years or older with at least one outpatient visit from January 1, 1992, to November 30, 1995.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Use of HRT was defined as documentation of systemic estrogen use. The main predictor variable was self-identified ethnicity. Age, diagnosis (coronary heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis, or breast cancer), and median income were included in the analysis. Of the 8,968 women (mean age, 65.4 years) included, 50% were white, 20% Asian, 15% African American, 9% Latina, and 6% Soviet immigrants. Whites (33%) were significantly more likely to be prescribed HRT than Asians (21%), African Americans (25%), Latinas (23%), or Soviet immigrants (6.6%), p<0.01 for each. Multivariate analysis, comparing ethnic groups and controlling for confounding variables, showed that Asians (odds ratio [OR] 0.56; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.49, 0.64), African Americans (OR 0.70; 95% CI 0.60, 0.81), Latinas (OR 0.70; 95% CI 0.58, 0.84), and Soviet immigrants (OR 0.14; 95% CI 0.10, 0.20) were each less likely to be prescribed HRT than were white women. Although women with osteoporosis were more likely to receive HRT (OR 2.28; 95% CI 1.71, 2.99), those with coronary heart disease were not (OR 0.88; 95% CI 0.68, 1.09).

CONCLUSIONS: Physicians at this medical center were more likely to prescribe HRT for white women and women with osteoporosis. Further study is needed to address whether these differences in HRT prescribing result in different health outcomes.

Key Words

hormone replacement therapy postmenopausal women ethnicity physician prescribing prevention 


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arleen F. Brown
    • 1
    • 3
  • Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable
    • 1
    • 2
  • Eric E. Whitaker
    • 1
    • 3
  • Samuel F. Posner
    • 1
    • 4
  • Mark Alexander
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Julia Gathe
    • 1
    • 4
  • A. Eugene Washington
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Received from the Medical Effectiveness Research Center for Diverse PopulationsUniversity of CaliforniaSan Francisco
  2. 2.the Center for Aging in Diverse CommunitiesUniversity of CaliforniaSan Francisco
  3. 3.the Division of General Internal Medicine in the Department of MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaSan Francisco
  4. 4.the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaSan Francisco
  5. 5.University of California at San FranciscoSan Francisco

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