Postmenopausal (PM) hormone therapy (HT) was extremely popular for years as a treatment for many conditions, including cardiovascular (CV) disease (CVD) prevention. The adverse results from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) ended the widespread prescriptive use of HT for nearly 20 years. The WHI findings have been broadly and unfairly applied to all hormone formulations, including modern treatments using human-identical hormones. Although CV health is indisputably linked to oestrogen status, HT involving any combination of hormones currently is not recommended for primary or secondary prevention of CVD. In the wake of more positive results from recent studies and re-evaluation of the WHI, HT has re-emerged as an issue for specialists in CVD to discuss with their patients. Rigorous scientific analysis is needed to explain the paradox of cardioprotection conferred by endogenous ovarian hormones with apparent cardiotoxicity inflicted by HT. This review will cover the origins of HT, hormone terminology and function, and key studies that contribute to our current understanding. Based on evolving evidence, if HT is to be used, we propose it be initiated immediately after cessation of ovarian hormone production and dosed as transdermal oestradiol combined with cyclic dosing of human-identical progesterone (P4).
- cardiac risk factors and prevention
- heart disease
Statistics from Altmetric.com
Contributors All authors contributed to this manuscript in all ways.The corresponding author has the right to grant on behalf of all authors and does grant on behalf of all authors, an exclusive license (or non-exclusive for government employees on a worldwide basis to the BMJ Publishing Group Ltd (BMJPGL) and its licensees to permit this article (if accepted) to be published in HEART editions and any other BMJPGL products to exploit all subsidiary rights.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.