Hormone Therapy Earlier in Menopause May Lower Risk for Developing CHD

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Study demonstrates link between timing of hormone therapy in menopause and risk for coronary heart disease.
Study demonstrates link between timing of hormone therapy in menopause and risk for coronary heart disease.

Women who initiated hormone therapy early after menopause onset — within 5 years — were less likely to develop coronary heart disease (CHD), whereas those who initiated it later were at increased risk for the disease.

The results of the study were presented at the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) 2015 Annual Meeting.

According to Germán D. Carrasquilla, MD, MSc, lead study author and PhD student at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, the catalyst for the study was the interest in women's health and menopause, given the lack of understanding of how menopausal hormone therapy influences CHD risk in menopausal women, “and specifically, how the timing of menopausal hormone therapy initiation in relation to menopause onset could modify such an association,” Dr Carrasquilla said in an interview.

For the study, Dr Carrasquilla and colleagues examined data from five population-based Swedish cohort studies, including a total of 74,352 women. The number of event-free years between the exposed and unexposed groups served to estimate percentile differences.

Researchers adjusted for age, age at menopause onset, BMI, diabetes, dyslipidemia, educational level, hypertension, smoking status, and type of menopause.

Early initiation of hormone therapy was defined as within 5 years of menopause onset.

Results showed that women who received early initiation of hormone therapy had a decreased risk for future CHD, whereas late initiation was associated with an increased risk for CHD, which Dr Carrasquilla said was the take-home message of the study. 

“It is important to bear in mind that menopausal hormone therapy not only influences coronary heart disease risk, but one has to consider also that there are other clinical endpoints that the therapy might influence, like breast cancer, venous thromboembolism, and stroke,” Dr Carrasquilla said.

Reference

  1. Carrasquilla GD et al. Presented at: North American Menopause Society 2015 Annual Meeting; Sept. 30-Oct. 3, 2015; Las Vegas. 
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