Introduction: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) including coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke is the most common cause of female death. Premenopausal CHD is very rare but when women enter the menopause the incidence of CHD increases markedly. CHD presents 10 years later in women than in men. The reason is still unclear but the protective effects of estrogens have been suggested.
Aims: To formulate a position statement on the management of menopause women in the context of coronary heart disease.
Materials and methods: Literature review and consensus of expert opinion.
Results and conclusions: Based on long term randomized placebo-controlled studies hormone therapy (HT) is not recommended for the primary or secondary prevention of CHD in postmenopausal women. In most countries the only indication for HT is the treatment of menopausal symptoms. Women with known CHD or with many coronary risk factors seeking HT because of troublesome climacteric symptoms should be evaluated for their individual baseline risk of developing breast cancer, venous thromboembolism and CHD recurrence. The same applies to non hormone therapy-based treatments where long term clinical studies are lacking. Risks should be weighed against expected benefit from symptom relief and improved quality of life. The lowest effective estrogen dose should be used during the shortest possible time. Transdermal administration is preferred if risk factors for VTE exist. Different progestogens might differ in their cardiovascular effects. Observational studies suggest that micronized progesterone or dydrogesterone may have a better risk profile than other progestogens with regard to thrombotic risk.
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