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Climacteric. 2012 Apr;15 Suppl 1:11-7. doi: 10.3109/13697137.2012.669624.

Postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy and cardiovascular disease: the value of transdermal estradiol and micronized progesterone.

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Department of Endocrinology and Menopause, Center of Women's Health, University Women's Hospital, Tuebingen, Germany.


Most available postmenopausal hormone replacement therapies (HRT) offer similar efficacy, but differ with respect to the cardiovascular risks associated with their use. There is a wealth of evidence to suggest that, unlike oral estrogens, transdermal estradiol does not increase the risk of venous thromboembolism, probably due to its lack of effect on the coagulation cascade, including thrombin generation and resistance to activated protein C, and does not increase the risk of stroke. It is cardioprotective, significantly reducing the incidence of myocardial infarction compared with non-users; it significantly reduces the incidence of new-onset diabetes, a risk factor for myocardial infarction. Micronized progesterone has also been shown not to increase the risk of venous thromboembolism and further reduced the incidence of new-onset diabetes when combined with transdermal estrogen. Micronized progesterone has a neutral effect on the vasculature, including a neutral or beneficial effect on blood pressure. Therefore, experimental and clinical data indicate that transdermal estradiol and micronized progesterone could represent the optimal HRT, particularly in women at risk of adverse events.

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