Objectives: To evaluate the effect of 1- or 3-monthly sequential combinations of estradiol valerate (E2V) and medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) on menopausal symptoms, bone density, muscle strength and lipid metabolism in postmenopausal women.
Methods: Changes in bone mineral density (BMD), isometric muscle strength, serum lipids and climacteric symptoms were evaluated in 78 women, 49-55 years of age, with a spontaneous menopause 0.5-3 years earlier. Treatment group I received 2 mg E2V tablets for 11 days, followed by 2 mg E2V + 10 mg MPA for 10 days and placebo for an additional 7 days; treatment group II received 2 mg E2V for 70 days, 2 mg E2V + 20 mg MPA for 14 days, and placebo for 7 days. The placebo group received placebo continuously for 24 months. Each group was further randomised to exercise and non-exercise subgroups.
Results: Both hormone regimens significantly reduced menopausal symptoms, and prevented equally well the decrease of BMD both in the lumbar spine and proximal femur. A positive effect of exercise on BMD was observed in the placebo group. No synergistic effect of exercise and estrogen on BMD could be shown. Both hormone regimens increased the isometric strength of back extensor muscles. Serum total and LDL cholesterol decreased during the first year with both estrogen regimens.
Conclusions: Estrogen-progestin regimens were equally effective in the control of menopausal symptoms and preventing bone loss, increasing muscle strength and lowering serum cholesterol.