A randomized open trial of hormone replacement therapy was used to assess changes in adductor pollicis muscle strength during 6-12 months of treatment with Prempak C 0.625(R) in comparison with an untreated control group. Muscle strength (maximal voluntary force; MVF), muscle cross-sectional area and bone mineral density were measured. Women entering the trial had oestrogen levels below 150 pmol.l-1, confirming their post-menopausal hormonal status. In the treated group, MVF increased by 12.4+/-1.0% (mean+/-S.E.M.) of initial MVF over the duration of treatment, while it declined slightly (2.9+/-0.9%) in the control group. This increase in strength could not be explained by an increase in muscle bulk, there being no significant increase in cross-sectional area during the study. Those subjects who were weakest at enrolment showed the greatest increases in muscle strength after treatment. Bone mineral density in total hip, Ward's triangle and total spine increased in the treated group, in agreement with previous studies. There was no correlation between the individual increases in bone mineral density and those in MVF.