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Estrogen Replacement

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Estrogen Replacement, Hormone Replacement, Estrogen Replacement Therapy, Hormone Replacement Therapy

  • General
  1. Estrogen Replacement is recommended only for symptom control (e.g. Hot Flushes), not for chronic disease prevention
    1. Risks and benefits of Estrogen with or without Progesterone are complex
    2. ACOG and AAFP do not recommend Hormone Replacement for chronic disease prevention
    3. (2013) Obstet Gynecol 121(6): 1407-10 [PubMed]
    4. Manson (2013) 310(13): 1353-68 +PMID:24084921 [PubMed]
  2. Different Estrogen types are equivalent in efficacy
    1. Adverse effects and safety are also equivalent
    2. Combination therapy (with Progesterone) differ in their risks compared with Estrogen alone
    3. Nelson (2004) JAMA 291:1610-20 [PubMed]
  • Advantages
  • Benefits of Estrogen Replacement
  1. Osteoporosis
    1. Estrogen increases bone density by 20-30%
    2. Increases Bone Mineral Density 5-15% in 3 years
    3. Benefit even if started late postmenopausal
    4. Benefit also seen with Transdermal Estrogen
    5. Hazard Ratio for Hip Fracture: 0.66
    6. (2002) JAMA 288:321-333 [PubMed]
  2. Endocrine Effects
    1. Reduces Type II Diabetes Mellitus Risk by 20% (PEPI)
    2. Improves Glucose Metabolism
    3. Improves Insulin sensitivity
    4. Decreases Fasting Glucose levels
  3. Relief of perimenopausal Major Depression symptoms
    1. Transdermal Estrogen effective Antidepressant
    2. Soares (2001) Arch Gen Psychiatry 58:529-34 [PubMed]
  4. Relief of Genitourinary symptoms
    1. See adverse effects below regarding Incontinence
    2. Vaginal Dryness
    3. Dyspareunia
    4. Urethritis
  5. Relief of perimenonpausal vasomotor symptoms
    1. Hot Flashes
    2. Insomnia
    3. Irritability
    4. Anxiety
  6. Reduces tooth loss
  7. Protective against Colorectal Cancer
    1. Decreases cumulative Colon Cancer risk
    2. Hazard ratio for Colorectal Cancer 0.63
    3. (2002) JAMA 288:321-333 [PubMed]
  • Disadvantages
  • Mixed Risks and Benefits
  1. Cardiovascular disease
    1. Post-stoppage study suggested cardiovascular benefit in early Menopause
      1. Manson (2013) JAMA 10(13): 1353-68 +PMID:24084921 [PubMed]
    2. NIH Women's Health Initiative Results
      1. Combined HRT Study stopped early
        1. Increased coronary risk by 7 per 10,000 patients
        2. Hazard ratio for coronary events: 1.29
        3. Slight risk, but definately no CAD benefit
      2. Estrogen alone post-Hysterectomy
        1. This arm of study continues
      3. References
        1. (2002) JAMA 288:321-333 [PubMed]
    3. Earlier studies questioned cardiovascular benefit
      1. Increased coronary event risk in first year of ERT
      2. Protective effect after first year
      3. Grodstein (2001) Ann Intern Med 135:1-8 [PubMed]
      4. Herrington (2001) N Engl J Med 343:522-9 [PubMed]
    4. Improved survival in Congestive Heart Failure
      1. Reis (2000) J Am Coll Cardiol 36:529-33 [PubMed]
    5. Lowers systolic Blood Pressure (no diastolic effect)
      1. More pronounced effect in Obesity and advanced age
      2. Scuteri (2001) Ann Intern Med 135:229-38 [PubMed]
    6. Lipid effects (Estrogen alone without Prosterone)
      1. Increases HDL
      2. Decreases LDL
  2. Cerebrovascular Disease Risk
    1. Initial studies showed increased CVA risk
      1. Grodstein (2000) Ann Intern Med 133:933-41 [PubMed]
    2. NIH Women's Health Initiative also had increased risk
      1. Increased Incidence by 8 per 10,000 patients
      2. Hazard ratio for Cerebrovascular Accident: 1.41
      3. (2002) JAMA 288:321-333 [PubMed]
    3. Large prospective cohort study with no increased risk
      1. No HRT increased ischemic or Hemorrhagic CVA risk
      2. Angeja (2001) J Am Coll Cardiol 38:1297-301 [PubMed]
  3. Cognitive effects
    1. Initial studies showed decreased Alzheimer's Risk
      1. Appeared to protect against cognitive decline
      2. Paganini (1996) Arch Intern Med 156:2213-7 [PubMed]
      3. Yaffe (2000) Lancet 356:708-12 [PubMed]
    2. Recent studies have shown no benefit
      1. No benefit
        1. Buckwalter (2004) J Am Geriatr Soc 52:182-6 [PubMed]
        2. Viscoli (2005) Am J Obstet Gynecol 192:387-93 [PubMed]
      2. May adversely affect global cognitive function
        1. Espeland (2004) JAMA 291:2959-68 [PubMed]
  • Disadvantages
  • Risks of Estrogen Replacement
  1. Breast Cancer
    1. See Breast Cancer Risk Factors
    2. Risk appears to be associated with replacement type
      1. Associated with Continuous Estrogen Replacement
        1. Less associated with Estrogen alone
        2. Less associated with Sequential Replacement
        3. Weiss (2002) Obstet Gynecol 100:1148-58 [PubMed]
      2. Combination therapy increases risk
        1. Estrogen only therapy: 3-7 additional cases/1000
        2. Combination therapy: 18-20 additional cases/1000
        3. (2003) Lancet 362:419-27 [PubMed]
        4. Lytinen (2006) Obstet Gynecol 108:1354-60 [PubMed]
  2. Endometrial Cancer
    1. Occurs with Unopposed Estrogen (without Progesterone)
      1. Atypical Hyperplasia in 30% on Unopposed Estrogen
      2. Risk remains 10 years after Unopposed Estrogen use
    2. Women with intact Uterus must use combination HRT
    3. Evaluate Postmenopausal Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
      1. Anticipate uterine bleeding for first 4-6 months
      2. Evaluate bleeding >6 months after starting HRT
        1. Endometrial Biopsy
        2. Uterine Ultrasound
  3. Ovarian Cancer
    1. Associated with Estrogen use without Progestin
    2. Relative Risk of Ovarian Cancer in ERT: 1.6
    3. Relative Risk if ERT use >20 years: 3.2
    4. Lacey (2002) JAMA 288:334-41 [PubMed]
  4. Venous Thrombosis risk
    1. Higher risk with Estrogen dose over 2.5 mg/day
    2. Higher risk when used with Progesterone (combination therapy)
      1. Smith (2004) JAMA 292:1581-7 [PubMed]
    3. NIH Women's Initiative
      1. Hazard Ratio for Pulmonary Embolism: 2.13
      2. (2002) JAMA 288:321-333 [PubMed]
    4. Risk if prior Venous thrombosis occurred
      1. Trauma-related: no increased risk
      2. Oral Contraceptive related: possible increased risk
    5. Esterified Estrogen (Menest) not assoc. with thrombus
      1. May be preferred form for Estrogen Replacement
      2. Smith (2004) JAMA 292:1581-7 [PubMed]
  5. Genitourinary
    1. Urinary Incontinence increases with Estrogen
    2. Grodstein (2004) Obstet Gynecol 103:254-60 [PubMed]
  6. Special considerations
    1. Gall Bladder disease risk
      1. Relative Risk: 1.5 to 2.0
      2. Risk persists for 5 years after Estrogen stopped
    2. Increased Triglycerides
      1. Baseline Triglycerides: 250 to 750
        1. Start Estrogen Replacement
        2. Recheck Triglycerides in 4 weeks
      2. Baseline Triglycerides: over 500
        1. Consider transdermal Estrogen Replacement
      3. Baseline Triglycerides: over 750
        1. Avoid Estrogen Replacement
        2. Risk of Pancreatitis
  • Contraindications
  • Estrogen Replacement
  1. Absolute
    1. Unexplained Vaginal Bleeding
    2. Acute Liver Disease or severe liver disease
    3. Breast Cancer
    4. Active Thrombophlebitis
    5. Thromboembolic disorder including past history of Venous Thromboembolism
    6. Pregnancy
  2. Relative
    1. Chronic Liver Disease
    2. Heart disease
    3. Endometrial Cancer
    4. Hypertension
    5. Familial Hyperlipidemia
      1. Consider Transdermal Estrogen
    6. Seizure disorder
    7. Migraine Headaches
    8. History of Thrombophlebitis
    9. Endometriosis
    10. Gall Bladder disease
  • Safety
  1. Recent data suggests HRT is safe for 4-5 years of use
  2. NIH Women's Health Initiative did not study age <50
    1. Consider continuing Estrogen in these patients
    2. (2002) JAMA 288:321-333 [PubMed]
  3. Meta-analysis 4000 patients, 29 studies
    1. Initially irregular bleeding for 6 months
    2. Amenorrhea in 75% after 6 months
    3. Atrophic Endometrium in 90% of patients
    4. Endometrial Hyperplasia in 1% of patients
    5. Adenocarcinoma in 0.05% of patients (2 cases)
    6. Udoff (1995) Obstet Gynecol 86:306-16 [PubMed]
  • Management
  • Algorithm for choice of replacement method
  1. Use the lowest effective dose of replacement that controls symptoms
  2. Age under 40 years, Ovaries removed, or Perimenopause (see Menopause for strategy)
    1. Sequential Estrogen Replacement OR
    2. Oral Contraceptive
  3. Menopause
    1. Continuous Estrogen Replacement (preferred) OR
    2. Sequential Estrogen Replacement
  4. Late Postmenopausal
    1. Vaginal Estrogen for atrophic vagina OR
    2. Continuous Estrogen Replacement
      1. Avoid after age 60 years as risk of CVA, MI, Dementia increase
  • Management
  • Protocol to stop Hormone Replacement
  1. Timing of Estrogen Replacement discontinuation
    1. Premature Menopause
      1. Re-evaluate continued Estrogen use at age 51
    2. Estrogen Replacement with Progesterone
      1. Consider stopping Estrogen Replacement after 3-5 years of use
    3. Estrogen Replacement without Progesterone
      1. Consider stopping Estrogen Replacement after 7 years of use
  2. Slow taper over 2-3 months reduces withdrawal affects
  3. Estrogen withdrawal effects to anticipate
    1. Irregular Vaginal Bleeding or spotting
    2. Hot Flushes
  4. Taper
    1. First: HRT only monday to friday for 1-3 months
    2. Next: HRT only monday, wednesday, friday x1-3 months
  • Management
  • Consider alternatives to Estrogen Replacement
  1. See Hot Flushes
  2. See Cardiac Risk Management
  3. See Osteoporosis Management
  4. Local Estrogen sources (Vaginal Estrogen)
    1. Vagifem tablets
    2. E-String vaginal ring