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      Effects of Estrogen plus Progestin on Health-Related Quality of Life

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          Abstract

          The Women's Health Initiative (WHI) and other clinical trials indicate that significant health risks are associated with combination hormone use. Less is known about the effect of hormone therapy on health-related quality of life. The WHI randomly assigned 16,608 postmenopausal women 50 to 79 years of age (mean, 63) with an intact uterus at base line to estrogen plus progestin (0.625 mg of conjugated equine estrogen plus 2.5 mg of medroxyprogesterone acetate, in 8506 women) or placebo (in 8102 women). Quality-of-life measures were collected at base line and at one year in all women and at three years in a subgroup of 1511 women. Randomization to estrogen plus progestin resulted in no significant effects on general health, vitality, mental health, depressive symptoms, or sexual satisfaction. The use of estrogen plus progestin was associated with a statistically significant but small and not clinically meaningful benefit in terms of sleep disturbance, physical functioning, and bodily pain after one year (the mean benefit in terms of sleep disturbance was 0.4 point on a 20-point scale, in terms of physical functioning 0.8 point on a 100-point scale, and in terms of pain 1.9 points on a 100-point scale). At three years, there were no significant benefits in terms of any quality-of-life outcomes. Among women 50 to 54 years of age with moderate-to-severe vasomotor symptoms at base line, estrogen and progestin improved vasomotor symptoms and resulted in a small benefit in terms of sleep disturbance but no benefit in terms of the other quality-of-life outcomes. In this trial in postmenopausal women, estrogen plus progestin did not have a clinically meaningful effect on health-related quality of life. Copyright 2003 Massachusetts Medical Society

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          Most cited references 20

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          National Institute of Mental Health Diagnostic Interview Schedule

           Lee Robins (1981)
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            Effects of estrogen replacement on the progression of coronary-artery atherosclerosis.

            Heart disease is a major cause of illness and death in women. To understand better the role of estrogen in the treatment and prevention of heart disease, more information is needed about its effects on coronary atherosclerosis and the extent to which concomitant progestin therapy may modify these effects. We randomly assigned a total of 309 women with angiographically verified coronary disease to receive 0.625 mg of conjugated estrogen per day, 0.625 mg of conjugated estrogen plus 2.5 mg of medroxyprogesterone acetate per day, or placebo. The women were followed for a mean (+/-SD) of 3.2+/-0.6 years. Base-line and follow-up coronary angiograms were analyzed by quantitative coronary angiography. Estrogen and estrogen plus medroxyprogesterone acetate produced significant reductions in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels (9.4 percent and 16.5 percent, respectively) and significant increases in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels (18.8 percent and 14.2 percent, respectively); however, neither treatment altered the progression of coronary atherosclerosis. After adjustment for measurements at base line, the mean (+/-SE) minimal coronary-artery diameters at follow-up were 1.87+/-0.02 mm, 1.84+/-0.02 mm, and 1.87+/-0.02 mm in women assigned to estrogen, estrogen plus medroxyprogesterone acetate, and placebo, respectively. The differences between the values for the two active-treatment groups and the value for the placebo group were not significant. Analyses of several secondary angiographic outcomes and subgroups of women produced similar results. The rates of clinical cardiovascular events were also similar among the treatment groups. Neither estrogen alone nor estrogen plus medroxyprogesterone acetate affected the progression of coronary atherosclerosis in women with established disease. These results suggest that such women should not use estrogen replacement with an expectation of cardiovascular benefit.
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              Estrogen deficiency and risk of Alzheimer's disease in women.

              The authors explored the possibility that estrogen loss associated with menopause may contribute to the development of Alzheimer's disease by using a case-control study nested within a prospective cohort study. The Leisure World Cohort includes 8,877 female residents of Leisure World Laguna Hills, a retirement community in southern California, who were first mailed a health survey in 1981. From the 2,529 female cohort members who died between 1981 and 1992, the authors identified 138 with Alzheimer's disease or other dementia diagnoses likely to represent Alzheimer's disease (senile dementia, dementia, or senility) mentioned on the death certificate. Four controls were individually matched by birth date (+/- 1 year) and death date (+1 year) to each case. The risk of Alzheimer's disease and related dementia was less in estrogen users relative to nonusers (odds ratio = 0.69, 95 percent confidence interval 0.46-1.03). The risk decreased significantly with increasing estrogen dose and with increasing duration of estrogen use. Risk was also associated with variables related to endogenous estrogen levels; it increased with increasing age at menarche and (although not statistically significant) decreased with increasing weight. This study suggests that the increased incidence of Alzheimer's disease in older women may be due to estrogen deficiency and that estrogen replacement therapy may be useful for preventing or delaying the onset of this dementia.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                New England Journal of Medicine
                N Engl J Med
                Massachusetts Medical Society
                0028-4793
                1533-4406
                May 08 2003
                May 08 2003
                : 348
                : 19
                : 1839-1854
                Article
                10.1056/NEJMoa030311
                12642637
                © 2003
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