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Menopause. 2001 Jul-Aug;8(4):286-9.

A scheme of combined oral contraceptives for women more than 40 years old.

Author information

  • 1Fundación Prosam, Santiago de Chile, Hospital Clínic, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To study whether the addition of estrogen to the 7 hormone-free days of a combined oral contraceptive (OC) cycle improves the symptomatology in perimenopausal women with climacteric complaints.

DESIGN:

A total of 56 women in their forties presenting with mood disorders and/or hot flashes were included in this randomized double-blind study. Symptoms were evaluated using the Greene test. Subjects were allocated into two groups: 23 women received an OC containing 20 microg of ethinyl-estradiol and 150 mg of desogestrel for 21 days and then 7 placebo tablets (placebo group); the other 33 women received 21 tablets with the same hormone combination, followed by 2 placebo tablets and 5 ethinyl-estradiol tablets of 10 microg each (estrogen group). After three cycles, symptoms were reassessed.

RESULTS:

Symptoms were similar in the two groups at the start of the study. Three months later, vasomotor symptoms in the placebo group dropped from 3.3 +/- 1.7 to 1.7 +/- 1.8, and in the estrogen group, from 3.0 +/- 1.7 to 0.7 +/- 0.9 (p < 0.04). Similarly, symptoms of depression fell from 8.8 +/- 4.0 to 6.7 +/- 3.9 in the placebo group and from 10.3 +/- 3.5 to 3.8 +/- 2.9 in the estrogen group (p < 0.002). Somatic symptoms fell with placebo from 10.9 +/- 5.3 to 7.4 +/- 5.4, and with estrogen, from 9.7 +/- 4.9 to 4.0 +/- 2.5 (p < 0.03). Sexual dysfunction as measured by the Greene Scale (loss of sexual interest) also improved more in women who received additional estrogen: 2.0 +/- 0.9 to 0.5 +/- 0.9 vs. 1.8 +/- 1.2 to 1.2 +/- 1.2, p < 0.03. Anxiety symptoms improved in both groups but without any significant difference between them.

CONCLUSIONS:

Adding 5 days of estrogen to the classic contraceptive scheme improves the climacteric symptoms of perimenopausal women who use OCs.

PMID:
11449087
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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