Lack of Evidence for “Bioidentical” Hormones, and Their Marketing to Women and LGBT Customers
Yesterday at Our Bodies Our Blog, I posted about the lack of evidence of safety or efficacy for so-called “bioidentical” hormones, and a recent press release from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists expressing their concern about these products.
There are links in the post to other coverage of the topic and the FDA’s page of myths and facts about “bioidenticals,” which is definitely worth checking out.
“Bioidentical” hormones are often marketed to menopausal women as a “safer” alternative to traditional hormone replacement therapy. However, I picked up our local LGBT paper, Out & About last night, and discovered an ad featuring a gay couple and marketing the products to to those “wondering about your passion?” The ad copy promotes the products for “enhanced sex drive,” “better energy,” and “deeper sleep.”
While the FDA clearly addresses the lack of safety or efficacy data or approval for “bioidentical” hormones, and provides specific information related to women and menopause, they don’t as yet address the marketing to gay couples that is now happening.
Meanwhile, the “HRC Medical Center” referred to by the ad (although with a different URL than what is provided in the ad copy) makes claims that “Bioidentical Hormone therapy is safe, all natural and effective.” It also suggests that hormone replacement is safe, right for most people, and useful for people as young as 21 years old. They also make a specific claim that “Bio-Identical Hormones are ALL NATURAL, FDA Approved.”
I know that there are women’s health groups working to educate women about these issues (related to menopause), but is anybody reaching out the GLBT community? Most information out there – such as on the FDA site – tends to focus heavily on the menopause-related claims, but has anyone addressed the claims such as in the ad that are targeted at other populations, such as LGBT folk?
Note: It was pointed out to me that this place might be selling testosterone, and focusing specifically on men, different from the estrogen issue we talked about at Our Bodies Our Blog. It’s difficult to tell from the website, but they do specifically mention both men and women, and menopause, and claim that their products “provide a safe and natural alternative to women and men with low levels of progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone,” so there seems to be a bit of everything (including, probably, testosterone with regards to the sex drive issue).