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Examining the Evidence


Focus on Menopause: Hormone replacement and quality of life: 2 experts comment on the latest WHI findings

May 2003 · Vol. 15, No. 5

Objective

In this latest offering from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), researchers investigate whether estrogen plus progestin increases quality of life in postmenopausal women.

Methods and Results

This study consisted of 16,608 postmenopausal women ranging in age from 50 to 79 (mean, 63) with an intact uterus. Participants received either a combination of 0.625 mg of conjugated equine estrogen and 2.5 mg of medroxyprogesterone acetate (Prempro) or placebo. Quality-of-life measures were collected at baseline and 1 year, and again at 3 years in a subgroup of 1,511 women.

Estrogen and progestin resulted in no significant effects on general health, vitality, mental health, depressive symptoms or sexual satisfaction. After 1 year there was a statistically significant “but small and not clinically meaningful” benefit in terms of sleep disturbance, physical functioning, and bodily pain. At 3 years there were no significant benefits in terms of any quality-of-life outcomes.

Who may be affected by these findings?

Older, asymptomatic postmenopausal women on or considering hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

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