Menopause-related workload in general practice 1996–2005: a retrospective study in the UK

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Abstract

Background. Women with menopausal symptoms often consult with a health professional. Recently, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) prescribing has declined but the impact of this change on other aspects of general practice workload is unclear.
Objective. To investigate whether the menopause remains a workload issue.
Methods. A retrospective observational study of UK general practice (General Practice Research Database) using four random samples of 25¿000 women aged 45–64 years registered with a general practice during 1996, 1999, 2002 and 2005. We calculated the incidence and prevalence of menopause-related consultation; gynaecology referrals; prescriptions for HRT, clonidine and antidepressants during each year; examined patterns over time and investigated whether the types of preparations had changed.
Results. The prevalence and incidence of menopause-related consultation fell—from 18.1% of women aged 45–64 years consulting at least once in 1996 to 10.4% in 2005. Over time, the proportion of women consulting about the menopause who were not prescribed HRT or clonidine increased. The incidence and prevalence of HRT decreased, mainly between 2002 and 2005. The proportion of women prescribed oral HRT fell while the proportion prescribed cream or pessaries/suppositories increased, particularly among women without a hysterectomy. Referrals to gynaecology and the incidence and prevalence of clonidine prescribing increased but remained uncommon. Patterns of antidepressant prescribing did not appear menopause related.
Conclusion. Although menopause-related workload has decreased over time, in 2005, over 10% of women aged 45–64 years consulted for a menopause-related matter. This suggests that the menopause remains an important part of UK general practice work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-506
Number of pages8
JournalFamily Practice
Volume27
Issue number5
Early online date7 Jun 2010
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010

Keywords

  • family practice
  • menopause
  • referral and consultation
  • workload

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