Long-term effects of transdermal and oral estrogens on serum lipids and lipoproteins in postmenopausal women

Maturitas. 1993 Nov;17(3):191-6. doi: 10.1016/0378-5122(93)90046-k.


The transdermal and oral administration of estrogens for one year were compared with respect to the effects on lipid metabolism. Eighty-one postmenopausal women (1.5-3 years after menopause) were randomly divided into three groups. The first two groups received sequential estrogen treatment with either transdermal estradiol (Estraderm TTS, Ciba Geigy; 50 micrograms/day; 24 women) or 0.625 mg/day conjugated estrogens (Premarin, Wyeth; 20 subjects), respectively. In both groups medroxyprogesterone (10 mg/day per os) was added for 12 days of each cycle. Thirty-five subjects served as control group without therapy. No significant changes in the lipid profile was observed in control subjects after 1 year of follow-up. Serum triglycerides decreased significantly (-10.9 +/- 26% S.D.; P < 0.05) in transdermal treated women, whereas it slightly rose in oral estrogen group. Comparable significant decreases in total and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (mean range -6.5/-18.0%) were observed in women on estrogen replacement therapy. High density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol significantly diminished in transdermal estradiol group, but it rose slightly in the oral estrogen group. Thus the fraction of HDL cholesterol over LDL cholesterol did not change in the transdermal group whereas it significantly rose in subjects treated with oral estrogens. It remains to be established to what extent these differences on lipid metabolism are relevant for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Administration, Oral
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Estradiol / administration & dosage
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy* / methods
  • Estrogens, Conjugated (USP) / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Lipoproteins / blood*
  • Middle Aged
  • Postmenopause / blood*
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Estrogens, Conjugated (USP)
  • Lipids
  • Lipoproteins
  • Triglycerides
  • Estradiol
  • Cholesterol