Transdermal estrogen replacement therapy: beneficial effects on hemostatic risk factors for cardiovascular disease

C Lindoff, F Peterson, I Lecander, G Martinsson, B Astedt
Maturitas 1996, 24 (1-2): 43-50

OBJECTIVES: To assess the effect of estrogen replacement therapy on hemostatic risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in postmenopausal women during 2 years of treatment.

METHODS: In an open prospective study, patients (n = 42) were investigated before and during 2 years of treatment, and compared to an untreated postmenopausal control group (n = 18) followed during the same period, healthy premenopausal women (n = 20) being included as a reference group for premenopausal values. The patients underwent treatment with transdermal 17 beta-estradiol (E2) (50 micrograms/24 h), oral medroxyprogesterone acetate (5 mg/day) being added for 12 days every second month.

RESULTS: After 2 years of treatment there was a significant increase in t-PA antigen (P = 0.01) and a significant decrease in F VII antigen (P = 0.01). PAI-1 antigen concentrations decreased slightly. Fibrinogen concentrations were already significantly decreased at 3-month follow-up (P = 0.01), and were still low after 2 years. By contrast, at 2-year follow-up the postmenopausal control group manifested significant increases in F VII and PAI-1 antigen and slight increases in fibrinogen, which resulted in significant differences between patients and controls. Regression analysis showed the increase in the serum estradiol concentrations to be inversely correlated to the decreases in the plasma concentrations of F VII antigen (r = -0.34, P = 0.001) and fibrinogen (r = -0.35, P = 0.001). There were no changes in AT III or protein C in any group.

CONCLUSIONS: The increase in serum estradiol concentrations due to replacement therapy did not adversely affect the studied components of the fibrinolytic and protein C defense system against thrombosis, and resulted in beneficial decreases in F VII antigen and fibrinogen. These findings may help to explain the beneficial effects of estrogen replacement therapy in terms of protection from cardiovascular disease.

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