Safety of hormonal replacement therapy in postmenopausal patients with systemic lupus erythematosus

Scand J Rheumatol. 1998;27(5):342-6. doi: 10.1080/03009749850154357.


It remains controversial whether administration of exogenous estrogens is safe in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The current study was undertaken to determine the effect of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) on the rate and magnitude of flares in a cohort of postmenopausal SLE patients. Thirty-four patients were prospectively followed. The frequency and severity of disease exacerbations in 11 patients who received HRT was compared with 23 patients who did not receive HRT. Our results showed that both users and non-users of HRT had a comparable age of disease onset, duration of disease, clinical manifestations, and duration of follow-up. No significant increase in the rate (0.12 relapses/patient-year in HRT group vs 0.16 relapses/patient-year in the non-HRT group, p = 0.90) or magnitude (total SLEDAI score increase during flares/patient-year in the HRT and non-HRT groups were 0.55 and 1.22, respectively, p = 0.57) of flares could be demonstrated in patients who received HRT over a median follow-up period of 35 months. We concluded that HRT appeared to be well tolerated and safe in postmenopausal SLE patients. Its potential beneficial effect may outweigh its deleterious effect on disease activity.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disease Progression
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Postmenopause*
  • Safety