Research Article| Volume 10, ISSUE 4, P307-316, December 1988

Serum levels of oestrogens, progesterone, follicle-stimulating hormone and sex-hormone-binding globulin during simultaneous vaginal administration of 17β-oestradiol and progesterone in the pre- and post-menopause

  • K. Carlström
    Correspondence to: Kjell Carlström, Ph.D., Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge University Hospital, S-141 86 Huddinge, Sweden.
    Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge University Hospital, S-141 86 Huddinge, Sweden
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  • H. Pschera
    Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge University Hospital, S-141 86 Huddinge, Sweden
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  • N-O. Lunell
    Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge University Hospital, S-141 86 Huddinge, Sweden
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      Serum concentrations of 17β-oestradiol (E2), unconjugated oestrone (E1), total oestrone (tE1), progesterone (P), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and sex-hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) were measured before and after daily intravaginal administration of 250 μg micronized E2 and 10 mg micronized P for 14 days to 12 post-menopausal and for 1 day only (during cycle days 5–8) to 11 pre-menopausal women. In the post-menopausal women the levels of all steroids increased to maximum values on day 1, 8–10 h after administration and fell thereafter. In the pre-menopausal women the steroid concentrations rose slowly to a plateau level 10–15 h after administration. Significantly higher absorption of E2 and E1 (area under the curve increments) was noted in the post-menopausal than in the pre-menopausal women.
      In the post-menopausal women the steroid levels measured on days 7 and 14 corresponded to those observed in the very early or late luteal phase. Area under the curve increments were usually smaller on days 7 and 14 than on day 1 and the absorption kinetics altered to a ‘pre-menopausal’ pattern. FSH levels were significantly reduced as from 12 h after administration on day 1 and onwards. A slight (10%) but significant increase in SHBG levels was noted on day 14. It was concluded that the combined E2 and P treatment used in this investigation brings about a physiological response with only minimal side effects on the liver as judged from changes in SHBG concentrations.


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