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Hormone Therapy Method Affects Heart Attack Risk

Delivery by patch or gel cuts odds of myocardial infarction

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Although overall there is no increased risk of myocardial infarction among women who take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) compared to women who have never used it, there are significant differences in the risk profile for various HRT regimens and delivery methods, according to a report published online Sept. 30 in the European Heart Journal.

Ellen Lokkegaard, M.D., Ph.D., of the Rigshospitalet in Copenhagan, Denmark, and colleagues conducted a study of 698,098 Danish women aged 51 to 69 who were followed from 1995 through 2001. During this time, there were 4,947 incidences of myocardial infarction.

Although overall, women currently using HRT were not at increased risk of myocardial infarction compared with those who have never used it, younger women (aged 51 to 54) were at 24 percent higher risk and women of all ages using continuous hormone therapy were at 35 percent higher risk of myocardial infarction, the research showed. However, dermal or vaginal application of estrogen reduced the risk of myocardial infarction by 38 percent and 44 percent respectively, and there was no increased risk for users of unopposed estrogen, cyclic combined therapy or tibolone, the researchers write.

"The decreased risk of myocardial infarction with vaginal treatment is a very interesting finding that has not been tested before in large-scale observational studies," Lokkegaard noted in a statement.

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