The estrogen-alone Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study (WHIMS), a substudy of WHI study, enrolled 2,947 predominantly healthy postmenopausal women 65 years of age and older (45% were age 65 to 69 years, 36% were 70 to 74 years, and 19% were 75 years of age and older) to evaluate the effects of conjugated estrogens (CE 0.625 mg) on the incidence of probable dementia (primary outcome) compared with placebo.
After an average follow-up of 5.2 years, 28 women in the estrogen-alone group (37 per 10,000 women-years) and 19 in the placebo group (25 per 10,000 women-years) were diagnosed with probable dementia. The relative risk of probable dementia in the estrogen-alone group was 1.49 (95% CI 0.83-2.66) compared to placebo. It is unknown whether these findings apply to younger postmenopausal women. (See BOXED WARNINGS, WARNINGS, Dementia and PRECAUTIONS, Geriatric Use.)
The estrogen-plus-progestin WHIMS substudy enrolled 4,532 predominantly healthy postmenopausal women 65 years of age and older (47% were aged 65 to 69 years, 35% were 70 to 74 years, and 18% were 75 years of age and older) to evaluate the effects of CE 0.625 mg plus MPA 2.5 mg on the incidence of probable dementia (primary outcome) compared with placebo.
After an average follow-up of 4 years, 40 women in the estrogen plus progestin group (45 per 10,000 women-years) and 21 in the placebo group (22 per 10,000 women-years) were diagnosed with probable dementia. The relative risk of probable dementia in the hormone therapy group was 2.05 (95% CI 1.21-3.48) compared to placebo. Differences between groups became apparent in the first year of treatment. It is unknown whether these findings apply to younger postmenopausal women. (See BOXED WARNING, WARNINGS, Dementia, and PRECAUTIONS, Geriatric Use.)
When data from the two populations were pooled as planned in the WHIMS protocol, the reported overall relative risk for probable dementia was 1.76 (95% CI 1.19-2.60). It is unknown whether these findings apply to younger postmenopausal women. (See BOXED WARNING, WARNINGS, Dementia, and PRECAUTIONS, Geriatric Use.)
ENJUVIA tablets are indicated in the:
- Treatment of moderate to severe vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause.
- Treatment of moderate to severe vaginal dryness and pain with intercourse, symptoms of vulvar and vaginal atrophy, associated with menopause. When prescribing solely for the treatment of moderate to severe vaginal dryness and pain with intercourse, topical vaginal products should be considered.
ENJUVIA tablets should not be used in women with any of the following conditions:
- Undiagnosed abnormal genital bleeding.
- Known, suspected, or history of cancer of the breast.
- Known or suspected estrogen-dependent neoplasia.
- Active deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism or a history of these conditions.
- Active or recent (e.g., within the past year) arterial thromboembolic disease (e.g., stroke, myocardial infarction).
- Liver dysfunction or disease.
- Known hypersensitivity to the ingredients of ENJUVIA Tablets.
- Known or suspected pregnancy. There is no indication for ENJUVIA in pregnancy. There appears to be little or no increased risk of birth defects in children born to women who have used estrogens and progestins from oral contraceptives inadvertently during early pregnancy. (See PRECAUTIONS.)
See BOXED WARNINGS.
Estrogen and estrogen/progestin therapies have been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events such as myocardial infarction and stroke, as well as venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism (venous thromboembolism (VTE)). Should any of these occur or be suspected, estrogens should be discontinued immediately.
Risk factors for arterial vascular disease (e.g., hypertension, diabetes mellitus, tobacco use, hypercholesterolemia, and obesity) and/or venous thromboembolism (e.g., personal history or family history of VTE, obesity, and systemic lupus erythematosus) should be managed appropriately.
- a. Stroke
In the estrogen-alone substudy of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study, statistically significant increased risk of stroke was reported in women receiving CE 0.625 mg daily compared to women receiving placebo (44 versus 32 per 10,000 women-years). The increase in risk was demonstrated in year 1 and persisted. (See CLINICAL STUDIES).
In the estrogen-plus-progestin substudy of WHI study, a statistically significant increased risk of stroke was reported in women receiving CE/MPA 0.625 mg/2.5 mg daily compared to women receiving placebo (31 vs. 24 per 10, 000 women-years). The increase in risk was demonstrated after the first year and persisted. (See CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, CLINICAL STUDIES.)
b. Coronary heart disease
In the estrogen-alone substudy of WHI, no overall effect on coronary heart disease (CHD) events (defined as non-fatal MI, silent MI or death due to CHD) was reported in women receiving estrogen alone compared to placebo. (See CLINICAL STUDIES.)
In the estrogen-plus-progestin substudy of the WHI study, no statistically significant increase of CHD events was reported in women receiving CE/MPA compared to women receiving placebo (39 versus 33 per 10,000 women-years). An increase in relative risk was demonstrated in year 1, and a trend toward decreasing relative risk was reported in years 2 through 5.
In postmenopausal women with documented heart disease (n = 2,763, average age 66.7 years), a controlled clinical trial of secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease (Heart and Estrogen/Progestin Replacement Study (HERS)) treatment with CE/MPA (0.625 mg/2.5 mg per day) demonstrated no cardiovascular benefit. During an average follow-up of 4.1 years, treatment with CE/MPA did not reduce the overall rate of CHD events in postmenopausal women with established coronary heart disease. There were more CHD events in the CE/MPA-treated group than in the placebo group in year 1, but not during the subsequent years. Participation in an open label extension of the original HERS trial (HERS II) was agreed to by 2,321 women. Average follow-up in HERS II was an additional 2.7 years, for a total of 6.8 years overall. Rates of CHD events were comparable among women in the CE/MPA group and the placebo group in HERS, HERS II, and overall.
Large doses of estrogen (5 mg conjugated estrogens per day), comparable to those used to treat cancer of the prostate and breast, have been shown in a large prospective clinical trial in men to increase the risks of nonfatal myocardial infarction, pulmonary embolism, and thrombophlebitis.
c. Venous thromboembolism
In the estrogen-alone substudy of WHI the risk of VTE (DVT and pulmonary embolism [PE]), was reported to be increased for women taking conjugated equine estrogens (30 vs. 22 per 10,000 women-years), although only the increased risk of DVT reached statistical significance (23 vs. 15 per 10,000 women years). The increase in VTE risk was demonstrated during the first year. (See CLINICAL STUDIES.)
In the estrogen-plus-progestin substudy of WHI, a statistically significant 2-fold greater rate of VTE was reported in women receiving CE/MPA compared to women receiving placebo (35 vs. 17 per 10,000 women-years). Statistically significant increases in risk for both DVT (26 vs. 13 per 10,000 women-years) and PE (18 vs. 8 per 10,000 women-years) were also demonstrated. The increase in VTE risk was demonstrated during the first year and persisted.If feasible, estrogens should be discontinued at least 4 to 6 weeks before surgery of the type associated with an increased risk of thromboembolism, or during periods of prolonged immobilization.
2. Malignant neoplasms
- a. Endometrial cancer
The use of unopposed estrogens in women with intact uteri has been associated with an increased risk of endometrial cancer. The reported endometrial cancer risk among unopposed estrogen users is about 2- to 12-times greater than in non- users, and appears dependent on duration of treatment and on estrogen dose. Most studies show no significant increased risk associated with use of estrogens for less than 1 year. The greatest risk appears associated with prolonged use, with increased risks of 15- to 24-fold for 5 to 10 years or more. This risk has been shown to persist for at least 8 to 15 years after estrogen therapy is discontinued.
Clinical surveillance of all women taking estrogen/progestin combinations is important. Adequate diagnostic measures, including endometrial sampling when indicated, should be undertaken to rule out malignancy in all cases of undiagnosed persistent or recurring abnormal vaginal bleeding. There is no evidence that the use of natural estrogens results in a different endometrial risk profile than synthetic estrogens of equivalent estrogen dose. Adding a progestin to estrogen therapy has been shown to reduce the risk of endometrial hyperplasia, which may be a precursor to endometrial cancer.
b. Breast cancer
In some studies, the use of estrogens and progestins by postmenopausal women has been reported to increase the risk of breast cancer. The most important randomized clinical trial providing information about this issue is the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) (see CLINICAL STUDIES). The results from observational studies are generally consistent with those of the WHI clinical trial.
Observational studies have also reported an increased risk of breast cancer for estrogen-plus-progestin combination therapy, and a smaller increased risk for estrogen-alone therapy, after several years of use. For both findings, the excess risk increased with duration of use, and appeared to return to baseline over about five years after stopping treatment (only the observational studies have substantial data on risk after stopping). In these studies, the risk of breast cancer was greater, and became apparent earlier, with estrogen-plus-progestin combination therapy as compared to estrogen-alone therapy. However, these studies have not found significant variation in the risk of breast cancer among different estrogens or among different estrogen-plus-progestin combinations, doses, or routes of administration.
In the estrogen-alone substudy of WHI, after an average of 7.1 years of follow-up, CE (0.625 mg daily) was not associated with an increased risk of invasive breast cancer (RR 0.80, 95% nCI 0.62-1.04).
In the estrogen-plus-progestin substudy, after a mean follow-up of 5.6 years, the WHI substudy reported an increased risk of breast cancer. In this substudy, prior use of estrogen alone or estrogen-plus-progestin combination hormone therapy was reported by 26% of the women. The relative risk of invasive breast cancer was 1.24 (95% nCI 1.01-1.54), and the absolute risk was 41 vs. 33 cases per 10,000 women-years, for estrogen plus progestin compared with placebo, respectively. Among women who reported prior use of hormone therapy, the relative risk of invasive breast cancer was 1.86, and the absolute risk was 46 vs. 25 cases per 10,000 women-years, for estrogen plus progestin compared with placebo. Among women who reported no prior use of hormone therapy, the relative risk of invasive breast cancer was 1.09, and the absolute risk was 40 vs. 36 cases per 10,000 women-years for estrogen plus progestin compared with placebo. In the WHI trial, invasive breast cancers were larger and diagnosed at a more advanced stage in the estrogen-plus-progestin group compared with the placebo group. Metastatic disease was rare, with no apparent difference between the two groups. Other prognostic factors, such as histologic subtype, grade and hormone receptor status did not differ between the groups.
The use of estrogen alone and estrogen plus progestin has been reported to result in an increase in abnormal mammograms requiring further evaluation.
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