Objective: To assess the incidence of adverse events in postmenopausal women treated with raloxifene compared with placebo, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), or unopposed estrogen.
Methods: Common treatment groups were pooled across eight randomized, parallel clinical trials (6-30 months' duration) of raloxifene to create the following three databases: placebo-controlled, HRT-controlled, and estrogen-controlled databases. Incidence and severity of all treatment-emergent adverse events, defined as events that first occurred or worsened during treatment, were compared among groups in each of the databases.
Results: Discontinuation rates overall, and those related to adverse events, were not significantly different between treatment groups in any database. There was no significant difference in incidence of vaginal bleeding or breast discomfort between women treated with raloxifene (60 mg/d) or placebo. Both of these events were reported more frequently in women receiving HRT or estrogen. Vaginal bleeding was responsible for significantly more discontinuations from the HRT groups compared with the raloxifene group. Hot flashes was the only event common to all three databases that was significantly increased in the raloxifene group, but this event did not increase the discontinuation rates. The incidence of leg cramps was greater in raloxifene-treated women compared with placebo-treated women in the placebo-controlled database, but did not cause any discontinuations of therapy. Raloxifene had no effect on the incidence of vaginal symptoms or central nervous system events.
Conclusion: Raloxifene had an adverse event profile distinct from HRT and unopposed estrogen and was well tolerated by postmenopausal women.