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Conjugated equine estrogen used in postmenopausal women associated with a higher risk of stroke than estradiol

Wei-Chuan Chang  1 , Jen-Hung Wang  1 , Dah-Ching Ding  2   3

Sci Rep. 2021 May 24;11(1):10801.doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-90357-6.

This study aimed to evaluate the risk of ischemic stroke (IS) in hormone therapy (HT) with oral conjugated equine estrogen (CEE) and estradiol (E2) in postmenopausal women in Taiwan. A retrospective cohort study was conducted using the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database, a population-based healthcare claims dataset. Eligible women, aged 40-65 years, who received HT with E2 and CEE orally were enrolled. The primary outcome was IS. Propensity score matching with menopausal age and comorbidities was used. Cox proportional hazard regression models were used to calculate the incidence and hazard ratios (HRs) for IS. The mean menopausal ages of the E2 and CEE groups were 50.31 ± 4.99 and 50.45 ± 5.31 years, respectively. After adjusting for age and comorbidities, the incidence of IS was 1.17-fold higher in the women treated with CEE than in those treated with E2 (4.24 vs. 3.61/1000 person-years), with an adjusted HR (aHR) of 1.23 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.05-1.44). Moreover, HT with CEE initiated within 5 years of menopause had a higher HR than E2 (aHR = 1.20; 95% CI 1.02-1.42).

 In conclusion, HT with oral CEE might be associated with a higher risk of IS than E2 in postmenopausal Taiwanese women. The use of HT with CEE should be cautioned with the risk of IS.