Research Article| Volume 27, ISSUE 1, P69-76, May 1997

Prevention of postmenopausal bone loss with minimal uterine bleeding using low dose continuous estrogen/progestin therapy: a 2-year prospective study

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      Objective: To re-examine the minimal effective dose of conjugated estrogen (CEE)-progestin hormone replacement on postmenopausal bone loss. Design: A 2-year, prospective, open label, randomized study. Setting: Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of a university hospital. Participants: Fifty-two postmenopausal or oophorectomized women. Intervention: One of the following regimens was continuously administered for 2 years: (1) CEE 0.625 mg/day, (2) CEE 0.625 mg + medroxyprogesterone (MPA) 2.5 mg/day, (3) CEE 0.31 mg + MPA 2.5 mg/day and (4) control. Measurements: Lumbar spine and femoral BMD by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), a monthly based incidence of bleeding, serum lipids, PTH, calcitonin, Al-p, and osteocalcin. Results: Of the 52 patients enrolled in this study, 49 patients completed the 1 year of therapy and 36 completed the 2- year study. The control group showed a significant decrease in lumbar BMD over the 2 years (P < 0.05). The % changes in lumbar BMD at 2 years of CEE alone, CEE 0.625 + MPA and CEE 0.31 + MPA were 8.52% (95% confidence intervals; 4.61 ∼ 12.4%), 7.4% (0.60 ∼ 14.2%) and 3.20% (0.61 ∼ 5.84%), respectively, and were significantly higher than pretreatment values. The incidence of bleeding was significantly lower in women taking CEE 0.31 mg + MPA. HDL cholesterol increased in women taking CEE 0.625 mg alone or with MPA. No significant changes in lipid profiles were seen in the control or in the group of women taking CEE 0.31 mg + MPA. Conclusions: Continuous hormone replacement therapy (HRT) using 0.31 mg of CEE and 2.5 mg of MPA is effective in increasing lumbar BMD in postmenopausal or oophorectomized women and can be an appropriate option for women with a normal lipid profile or those women wishing to eliminate unscheduled bleeding.
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