Introduction: Venous thromboembolism (VTE), including deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), is a serious cardiovascular event whose incidence rises with increasing age.
Aims: To formulate a position statement on the management of the menopause in women with a personal or family history of VTE.
Material and methods: Literature review and consensus of expert opinion.
Results and conclusions: Randomized controlled trials have shown an increased risk of VTE in oral hormone therapy (HT) users. There are no randomized trial data on the effect of transdermal estrogen on VTE. Recent observational studies and meta-analyses suggest that transdermal estrogen does not increase VTE risk. These clinical observations are supported by experimental data showing that transdermal estrogen has a minimal effect on hepatic metabolism of hemostatic proteins as the portal circulation is bypassed. A personal or family history of VTE, especially in individuals with a prothrombotic mutation, is a strong contraindication to oral HT but transdermal estrogen can be considered after careful individual evaluation of the benefits and risks. Transdermal estrogen should be also the first choice in overweight/obese women requiring HT. Observational studies suggest that micronized progesterone and dydrogesterone might have a better risk profile than other progestins with regard to VTE risk. Although these findings should be confirmed by randomized clinical trials, they strongly suggest that both the route of estrogen administration and the type of progestin may be important determinants of the overall benefit-risk profile of HT.
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