Risk of venous thromboembolism events in postmenopausal women using oral versus non-oral hormone therapy: A systematic review and meta-analysis

  • Denise Rovinski
    Affiliations
    Gynecological Endocrinology Unit, Division of Endocrinology, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, 90035-003 Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
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  • Ramon B. Ramos
    Affiliations
    Gynecological Endocrinology Unit, Division of Endocrinology, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, 90035-003 Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
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  • Tayane M. Fighera
    Affiliations
    Gynecological Endocrinology Unit, Division of Endocrinology, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, 90035-003 Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
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  • Gislaine K. Casanova
    Affiliations
    Gynecological Endocrinology Unit, Division of Endocrinology, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, 90035-003 Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil

    Division of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, 90035-003 Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
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  • Poli Mara Spritzer
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author at: Division of Endocrinology, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, Rua Ramiro Barcelos, 2350, 90035-003 Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.
    Affiliations
    Gynecological Endocrinology Unit, Division of Endocrinology, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, 90035-003 Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil

    Laboratory of Molecular Endocrinology, Department of Physiology, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, 90035-003 Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
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      Highlights

      • The risk of VTE was increased in users of oral hormone therapy versus non-users.
      • Non-oral hormone therapy did not affect the risk of venous thromboembolism.
      • New trials are needed to sort out the impact of different progestins, estrogen doses and administration routes on VTE risk.

      Abstract

      Introduction

      Hormone therapy (HT) is an effective treatment for climacteric symptoms. Nevertheless, combined estrogen-progestin therapy and the oral route seem to entail higher risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) than estrogen-only therapy and transdermal administration. The present study aimed to investigate the risk of thromboembolic events in postmenopausal women using non-oral estrogen compared to women using oral estrogen and control groups (women receiving placebo or non-users of HT), as well as to assess the thrombotic impact of estrogens alone vs. combined estrogen-progestin therapy.

      Materials and methods

      Systematic review of MEDLINE, Cochrane CENTRAL, EMBASE, and ClinicalTrials.gov according to PRISMA guidelines.

      Results

      Twenty-two studies were included in the meta-analyses (9 case-control studies, 9 cohort studies, and 4 randomized controlled trials). As compared to control groups, VTE risk was not increased with non-oral HT, including users of estrogens and estrogens plus progestins (OR 0.97 [0.9–1.06]), non-oral estrogen therapy (ET)-only (OR 0.95 [0.81–1.10]), and non-oral combined estrogen-progestin therapy (OR 0.92 [0.77–1.09]). Conversely, increased risk of VTE was observed as compared with control groups in users of oral HT, including users of estrogens and estrogens plus progestins HT (OR 1.72 [1.47–2.01]), oral ET-only (OR 1.43 [1.34–1.53]), and combined oral estrogen-progestin HT (OR 2.35 [1.9–2.9]). The comparison of non-oral vs. oral HT showed increased VTE risk with oral HT (OR 1.66 [1.39–1.98]).

      Conclusions

      VTE risk was increased in postmenopausal women with no previous thromboembolic events using oral HT. Non-oral HT did not significantly affect this risk. The quality of the evidence produced in our meta-analyses is low to moderate, and further clinical trials are needed to sort out the impact of different types of progestin and different estrogen doses and administration routes on VTE risk.

      Abbreviations:

      APC (Activated protein C), BMI (body mass index), CBG (cortisol-binding globulin), CRP (C-reactive protein), CEE (conjugated equine estrogens), CVD (Cardiovascular disease), ET (estrogen therapy), HDL-C (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol), HR (Hazard ratio), HT (Hormone therapy), IGF-1 (Insulin-like growth factor 1), LDL-C (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol), NOS (Newcastle-Ottawa Scale), OR (odds ratio), PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis), RCT (randomized controlled trials), SHBG (Sex hormone-binding globulin), TBG (thyroxine-binding globulin), TFPI (tissue factor pathway inhibitor), VTE (venous thromboembolism)

      Keywords

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