Review| Volume 1, ISSUE 4, P247-259, June 1979

Hormone therapy and affect

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      This study investigated the influence of hormone therapy on affect in a double blind crossover trial. The sample consisted of 49 women who had previously undergone hysterectomy and bilateral oophorectomy. Therapy consisted of 3 mth each of ethinyl oestradiol — 50 μg/day, levonorgestrel — 250 μg/day, “Nordial” — a combination of these two substances, and placebo. Affect was measured by the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, verbal reports by women and self-ratings on visual analogue scales. Ethinyl oestradiol was found to have a beneficial influence on aspects of affect such as Hamilton scores, anxiety, irritability and insomnia.
      The influence of hormones on Hamilton scores could be partly but not fully explained by the alleviation of hot flushes. Norgestrel showed less favourable changes initially but these tended to diminish by the third therapy month. Most of the women studied were not clinically depressed. Anxiety symptoms were the major features exhibited in the group of women investigated. The results of this study suggest that visual analogue rating scales are of questionable validity in assessing affect in patients without any appreciable psychiatric morbidity.


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