COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Effects of oral and transdermal estrogen/progesterone regimens on blood coagulation and fibrinolysis in postmenopausal women. A randomized controlled trial

P Y Scarabin, M Alhenc-Gelas, G Plu-Bureau, P Taisne, R Agher, M Aiach
Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology 1997, 17 (11): 3071-8
9409295
Postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy is associated with a reduction in the incidence of coronary heart disease. However, inconclusive results have been reported with respect to the risk of stroke, and recent studies consistently showed an increased risk of venous thromboembolism in postmenopausal women using oral estrogen. There are surprisingly few interventional studies to assess the true effects of estrogen-progestin regimens on blood coagulation and fibrinolysis, and the impact of the route of estrogen administration on hemostasis has not been well documented. Therefore, we investigated the effects of oral and transdermal estradiol/progesterone replacement therapy on hemostatic variables. Forty-five healthy postmenopausal women, aged 45 to 64 years, were assigned randomly to one of the three following groups: cyclic oral or transdermal estradiol, both combined with progesterone, or no hormonal treatment. Hemostatic variables were assayed at baseline and after a 6-month period. Pairwise differences in the mean change between the three groups were compared using nonparametric tests. Oral but not transdermal estradiol regimen significantly increased the mean value of prothrombin activation peptide (F1 + 2) and decreased mean antithrombin activity compared with no treatment. Differences in fragment F1 + 2 levels between active treatments were significant. The oral estrogen group was associated with a significant decrease in both mean tissue-type plasminogen (t-PA) concentration and plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI-1) activity and a significant rise in global fibrinolytic capacity (GFC) compared with the two other groups. A transdermal estrogen regimen had no significant effect on PAI-1, t-PA, and GFC levels. There were no significant changes in mean values of fibrinogen, factor VII, von Willebrand factor, protein C, fibrin D-dimer, and plasminogen between and within the three groups. We conclude that oral estrogen/progesterone replacement therapy may result in coagulation activation and increased fibrinolytic potential, whereas opposed transdermal estrogen appears without any substantial effects on hemostasis. Whereas these results may account for an increased risk of venous thromboembolism in users of oral postmenopausal estrogen, they emphasize the potential importance of the route of estrogen administration in prescribing hormone replacement therapy to postmenopausal women, especially to those at high risk of thrombotic disease.

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