Combining hormone therapy with statins may help reduce the risk for all-cause mortality in postmenopausal women, according to a new study being published in Menopause.
Using information from Swedish health registers, the researchers looked at approximately 41,000 women aged 40 to 74 years who took statins. Of these women, about 3,000 women used hormone therapy in addition to statins and 38,000 did not. The researchers compared their health records, focusing on deaths and cardiovascular (CV) events.
The researchers found that the all-cause death rate in the hormone therapy plus statins group was 33 per 10,000 person-years, compared with 87 per 10,000 person-years for statins alone. The rates of CV events did not significantly differ between the two groups.
However, the rate of death from cardiovascular disease (CVD) was only 5 per 10,000 person years in the combination group compared with 18 per 10,000 person-years for those on statins only.
The results remained consistent whether the women took statins for primary or secondary prevention of heart disease.
The results of this study differed from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) and the Heart and Estrogen/progestin Replacement Study (HERS), which found that hormone therapy initially increased the risk for CV events.
Coronary heart events are not uncommon soon after beginning hormone therapy — they can occur if estrogen makes plaque in the arteries unstable. The researchers believe that statins may reduce the likelihood of these events, which could explain why their results differed from the other studies.
“[The] findings suggest that one benefit of each treatment offsets one adverse effect of the other treatment, thereby yielding better health outcomes in combination than what could be achieved by either medication alone,” North American Menopause Society Executive Director Margery Gass, MD, said in a statement. “These results call for further study of the combined use of hormone therapy and statins.”