Study Finds Estrogen Therapy Improves Depression and Anxiety in Recently Menopausal Women Without Adverse Cognitive Effects

(PHOENIX, Ariz. – Oct. 3, 2012) – Kronos Longevity Research Institute (KLRI) today announced that a major finding of the Kronos Early Estrogen Prevention Study (KEEPS) indicates that hormone therapy (HT) improves symptoms of depression and anxiety in recently menopausal women, without adverse effects on cognition. The findings come as a result of a four-year randomized clinical trial involving nearly 730 menopausal women.

Based on the findings from this multicenter, randomized study involving more than

700 women, researchers concluded that estrogen/progesterone treatment started soon

after menopause appears to be safe; relieves many of the symptoms of menopause; and improves mood, bone density, and several markers of cardiovascular risk. While both oral and transdermal estrogens have minimal risks, there appear to be advantages of transdermal estrogen therapy, particularly if a woman is diabetic or at risk for cardiovascular disease.

The Specifics

The Kronos Early Estrogen Prevention Study (KEEPS) was a four-year, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial (in other words: reliable, scientific and unbiased) of low-dose oral or transdermal estrogen and progesterone in 727 healthy women aged 42-58 who were within 3 years of the onset of menopause.

There were 3 groups:

  • Group 1 received oral estrogen (given as Premarin®, 0.45 mg/day – a lower dose than the 0.625 mg/day used in the WHI)
  • Group 2 received a transdermal estradiol (given by Climara® patch, 50 µg/day [µg = microgram])
  • Group 3 received a placebo (no hormone)

In women who used either oral or transdermal estrogen, there was excellent relief of symptoms. There was no increase in blood pressure, no effects on atherosclerosis, no increase in breast cancer or uterine cancer, or blood clots associated with stroke and myocardial infarction.

Oral estrogen was associated with an increase in HDL (“good”) cholesterol along with a decrease in LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. However, there was an increase in triglyceride levels.

Transdermal estrogen did not affect cholesterol or triglycerides, and lowered insulin resistance.

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