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Maturitas. 1980 Oct;2(3):247-51.

A placebo-controlled trial of ethinyl oestradiol and norethisterone in climacteric women.


A placebo-controlled trial has shown that 15 microgram of ethinyl oestradiol is as effective as 25 microgram daily in reducing both menopausal symptoms and the urinary excretion of calcium and hydroxyproline. Norethisterone 5 mg daily also showed a significant reduction in the climacteric symptoms but was less effective than either of the ethinyl oestradiol doses.


A small placebo-controlled double-blind study was conducted to assess the efficacy of hormone replacement therapy in relieving climacteric symptoms. Women in the study received 1 of the following treatments: 1) 15 ug ethiny l estradiol daily; 2) 25 ug ethinyl estradiol daily; 3) 5mg norethisterone daily; or 4) a placebo. There was a significant cumulative fall in climacteric symptoms for the women on the 3 active therapies but no significant change in the placebo-treated group. The 15 ug-dose of ethinyl estradiol achieved the greatest reduction in symptoms, the 25 ug-dose achieved the next best effects, and the norethisterone treatment the least change. Differences among the 3 treatments were not statistically significant. Most of the improvement was due to a reduction in hot flushes. Bone resorption was also controlled with the treatment. It is concluded that hormone replacement therapy is effective in controlling menopause-related symptoms. Since norethisterone was almost as effective as the estrogens and since it is considered by many to be a safer compound, it is concluded that progestogen replacement therapy might be the recommended mode of treatment for menopausal symptoms.

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