Objectives: To examine the influence of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in the occurrence of vascular arterial and venous thrombotic events in postmenopausal women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Patients and methods: SLE women aged > or =16 years, disease duration < or =5 years from LUMINA, a multiethnic, longitudinal outcome study, were included. Menopause was defined at disease onset as the presence of amenorrhea >6 months and/or oophorectomy, and/or increased follicle stimulating hormone values, and/or HRT use regardless of the presence or absence of climacteric symptoms (hot flashes). Patients were divided into HRT ever users and nonusers. Patients with positive antiphospholipid antibodies (n = 9) or vascular arterial events (n = 1) occurring before HRT use were excluded. The occurrence of vascular arterial and venous thrombotic events was compared between HRT users and HRT nonusers and its role examined by logistic regression after adjusting for "confounding by indication" using propensity score or logistic regression analyses.
Results: Seventy-two postmenopausal women, 32 (44%) HRT users and 40 (56%) HRT nonusers, were studied. HRT use was associated with fewer vascular arterial but not venous thrombotic events (P = 0.021) in the univariable analyses. However, after adjusting for the propensity score, HRT use was no longer significant (P = 0.064). Comparable results were obtained by logistic regression.
Conclusions: HRT use was not associated with the occurrence of vascular arterial events in the LUMINA patients. HRT use in women with SLE should be individualized, but our data suggest its use may be safe if antiphospholipid antibodies are not present or vascular arterial events have not previously occurred.