J Am Pharm Assoc. 2003;43:724–6. – Jolena Hagen, Nicolette Gott, and Donald R. Miller
Recent reports concerning the safety of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) have led many women to seek alternative ways to treat menopausal symptoms. A new alternative that has become very popular is bioidentical HRT. This therapy is often based on the results of saliva hormone tests, which may be purchased from pharmacies and physician offices or over the Internet. Compounding pharmacies individualize HRT based on the results of these tests. Although saliva hormone testing is easy and convenient for a patient to perform at home, it has potential problems.2–4 Given the importance of these tests to compounding pharmacists, we decided to perform a simple check on the tests’ reliability.
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that laboratory values for saliva hormone samples collected with at-home test kits are not reliable. The individualization of HRT for patients is impossible without a reliable analysis. We suggest that compounding pharmacists periodically send in replicates of their own samples to test the reliability of the laboratories that they use.