Magazine article Drug Topics

Low-Dose HRT Patches Carry 26% Less Risk Than Oral Therapy

Magazine article Drug Topics

Low-Dose HRT Patches Carry 26% Less Risk Than Oral Therapy

Article excerpt

RX CARE

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) skin patches containing low doses of estrogen carry less risk of stroke than oral therapy and may represent a safer alternative, according to a study conducted by researchers at the Lady Davis Research Institute of the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal published June 4 in the British Medical Journal.

The study assessed the risk of stroke associated with HRT in post-menopausal women in the United Kingdom, using data from the General Practice Research Database (GPRD). Researchers found that lowdose patches carry 26% less risk than oral forms of HRT, though the risk is elevated with high-dose patches.

For the oral form of HRT, low-dose estrogen was defined as <0.625 mg of equine estrogen or <2 mg of estradiol, and high dose as >0.625 mg of equine estrogen or >2 mg of estradiol.

For the patch, researchers defined lowdose estrogen as <50 pg and high dose as >50pg.

"We obtained the medical records of more than 870,000 women aged 50 to 79 years in 1987 to 2006 and found 15,710 cases with a first diagnosis of stroke occurring in these women," lead researcher Samy Suissa, PhD, James McGill Professor of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Medicine, McGiIl University, and head of the Centre for Clinical Epidemiology at the Lady Davis Institute, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, told Drug Topics.

Dr Suissa pointed out that this is a sufficiently large study (almost 1 million women) to examine the risk of stroke associated with various ways of delivering HRT.

'It is also sufficiently large to evaluate the risk with lower and higher doses," he added. …

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