Differential effects of oral estrogen versus oral estrogen-androgen replacement therapy on body composition in postmenopausal women

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002 Apr;87(4):1509-16. doi: 10.1210/jcem.87.4.8362.

Abstract

Menopause is associated with decreased lean body mass and increased fat due to aging and declining hormone secretion. Estrogens or estrogen-progestins have been used to alleviate vasomotor symptoms. However, estrogen-androgen (E/A) therapy is also used for vasomotor symptom relief and has been shown to increase lean body mass while decreasing fat mass. The objective of this 16-wk, double-blind, randomized, parallel group clinical trial was to compare esterified estrogen plus methyltestosterone (1.25 mg estrogen + 2.5 mg methyltestosterone/d; E/A group) vs. esterified estrogen alone (1.25 mg/d; E group) on body composition. Forty postmenopausal women (mean age, 57 yr) participated. Compared with estrogen treatment alone, women in the E/A group increased their total lean body mass and reduced their percentage fat for all body parts (P < 0.05). After E/A treatment, there were statistically significant increases in lean body mass by 1.232 kg [0.181 +/- 0.004, 0.81 +/- 0.057, and 0.24 +/- 0.009 kg in the upper body (P = 0.021), trunk (P = 0.001), and lower body (P = 0.047), respectively]. In the E group, the increase was 0.31 +/- 0.004, 0.021 +/- 0.03, and 0.056 +/- 0.05 kg in the upper body, trunk, and lower body, respectively. In the E/A group, body fat was reduced by 0.90 kg (P = 0.18 for the trunk only), and percentage body fat declined by 7.4% (P < or = 0.05 for all body parts). Lower body strength increased by 23.1 kg (51 lb) in the E/A group vs. only 11 kg (24.25 lb) in the E group (P = 0.002 between groups). A statistically significant increase in weight (2.7 +/- 5.1 vs. 0.1 +/- 4.6 lb; P < 0.05) was observed in the E/A group compared with the E group. When subjects were given self-reporting questionnaires, more improvement was noted in sexual functioning and quality of life in the E/A group when compared with patients receiving E alone. There were no noteworthy side effects. In conclusion, E/A replacement therapy can improve body composition, lower-body muscle strength, quality of life, and sexual functioning in postmenopausal women.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Aged
  • Anthropometry
  • Body Composition / drug effects*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy / adverse effects
  • Estrogens / administration & dosage*
  • Estrogens / adverse effects
  • Estrogens / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Hormones / blood
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood
  • Methyltestosterone / adverse effects
  • Methyltestosterone / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Postmenopause / physiology*
  • Quality of Life
  • Sex
  • Testosterone Congeners / adverse effects
  • Testosterone Congeners / therapeutic use*
  • Weight Lifting

Substances

  • Estrogens
  • Hormones
  • Lipids
  • Testosterone Congeners
  • Methyltestosterone