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Cardiovascular consequences of hormone therapy in postmenopausal women: Messages to clinicians


Results from the recent randomized clinical trials indicating that hormone therapy (HT) does not provide cardiovascular protection, but potentially harm are in profound disagreement with the sound evidence from numerous observational and experimental studies. While the observational studies have mainly assessed symptomatic recently menopausal women, the randomized trials have studied symptomless elderly postmenopausal women with established coronary heart disease or various risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Therefore, the recent trials have only revealed that HT does not provide secondary cardiovascular benefits. Since primary cardiovascular benefits of HT are rational but not yet proven in clinical trials, new studies are in demand. Until more data from recently menopausal symptomatic women are available, we need to base our decisions on existing evidence and good clinical practice. Although the potential of HT to provide cardiovascular benefits is decreased by advancing age and time since menopause, this should not preclude the use of individualized HT in younger postmenopausal women.

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Correspondence to O. Ylikorkala.

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Ylikorkala, O., Mikkola, T. Cardiovascular consequences of hormone therapy in postmenopausal women: Messages to clinicians. Reprod Med Biol 4, 1–6 (2005).

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Key words

  • atherosclerosis
  • hormones
  • hormone replacement therapy
  • Women’s Health Initiative