The Controversy over Low-dose Hormone Therapy in Taiwan: Knowledge Production, Clinical Practice and Politics of Standardization
The Women’s Health Initiatives (WHI) randomized controlled trials in 2002 highlighted both the increased cancer risks of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopausal women and HRT’s role in medicalizing women’s bodies. As a result, "low-dose" hormone therapy has becomethe prevailing regimen in medical guidelines and clinical practices. This paper explores how "low-dose hormone" therapy emerged from the risk controversy and was adopted into regular gynecological clinical practice, continuing the process of medicalization in Taiwan. Before the publication of WHI’s report "low-dose hormone" had a already emerged as a standard regimen for bone health displaced the risk of hormonal deficiency with the risk of an osteoporotic menopausal body. The Taiwan Menopause Society endorsed the International Menopause Society’s hormone therapy guidelines and claimed the effectiveness of "low-dose" hormone therapy, while questioning the potential effects ofbodily differences betweenAsian and Euro-American women. Subsequent clinical trialsby the Pan-Asian menopausal medical societies reveal efforts to produce knowledge of Taiwanese local biology. The risk controversy travelled and became embedded in local politics at individual and group levels;. this articleexplores the agency of gynecologists and menopausal women in shaping reactions to the controversy and the emergence of "low-dose hormone" therapy in Taiwan.