Efficacy and tolerability of a new 7-day transdermal estradiol patch versus placebo in hysterectomized women with postmenopausal complaints

T von Holst, B Salbach
Maturitas 2000 February 15, 34 (2): 143-53

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the efficacy and tolerability of a continuously applied 7-day-Estradiol patch (Fem7, Merck KGaA, Germany) delivering 50 microg estradiol per day in the treatment of hysterectomized women with postmenopausal complaints compared with placebo.

DESIGN: A multicentre, randomized, double-blind study with an initial screening phase (phase I), a 3-month double-blind placebo-controlled phase (phase II) and a 3-month open follow-up phase (phase III).

METHODS: 186 patients were randomized for a 3-cycle placebo-controlled study followed by a 3-cycle open follow-up (total duration; 6 months). The changes in Kupperman Index (primary efficacy variable), hot flushes and urogenital symptom score were studied from baseline to the end of the study. In addition, skin tolerability was assessed and patients were also asked to grade the subjective acceptance of therapy.

RESULTS: A reduction in Kupperman Index was observed in both groups, and at each cycle of the placebo-controlled treatment phase the 7-day-Estradiol patch was superior compared with placebo (last value vs. baseline P = 0.0006). From the second treatment week onwards a distinct difference was noted in the reduction of hot flushes from baseline between the 7-day-Estradiol patch group and the placebo group. The difference between the groups was statistically significant for each cycle and at the end of the controlled treatment phase (mean weekly hot flush reduction at the end of the placebo-controlled treatment phase: -32.5 for the 7-day-Estradiol patch vs. -22.0 for placebo, P = 0.0025). The efficacy of the 7-day-Estradiol patch within the application period did not show any difference between days 1-3 and 4-7. Subjective acceptance of the 7-day-Estradiol patch was good and 72.4% of patients who took active medication throughout the study were willing to consider continuing its use.

CONCLUSIONS: The 7-day-Estradiol patch is well tolerated and provides effective relief of moderate to severe vasomotor symptoms in hysterectomized women, with a rapid onset of action and 7-day duration of therapeutic effect. Although a placebo effect was observed, the 7-day-Estradiol patch significantly reduced hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms throughout the application period.

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