Oestrogen, used in hormone replacement therapy to counteract symptoms of the menopause, could be as addictive as heroin, warns the former president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
DrThomas Bewley and Dr Susan Bewley of University College Hospital in London, reported in the Lancet (31 January 1992) that women undergoing HRT experience a "high" of well being which could be causing psychological feelings of dependence.
There is also evidence of possible physical addiction. Women were returning to clinics to renew prescriptions at ever shorter intervals or demanding larger doses. Those who were refused apparently exhibited some symptoms of "withdrawal".
The doctors pointed out that drugs like barbiturates and amphetamines were initially regarded as safe before their addictive potential was discovered.