To compare cognitive function in postmenopausal women receiving continuous hormone replacement therapy and those receiving tibolone.
This was a 6-month, prospective, single-blind, single center, randomized study. A total of 50 healthy, postmenopausal women were enrolled. In the end, 40 women completed the 6-month follow-up. One group (23 subjects) received conjugated equine estrogens (CEE), 0.625 mg/d, and medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA), 5 mg/d. The other group (17 subjects) received tibolone, 2.5 mg/d. Their serum estradiol levels and Cognitive Abilities Screening Instrument (CASI) and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores were obtained before starting and after 3 and 6 months of treatment.
There was a significant increase in the serum estradiol level in the CEE + MPA group, especially after 3 months of treatment, but there was no increase in the estradiol level in the tibolone group. The CASI and MMSE scores of the CEE + MPA group and the tibolone group after 3 and 6 months of treatment showed no significant difference between the two groups apart from the MMSE at the 3-month follow-up. We saw an increasing trend in CASI and MMSE scores after treatment in both groups; however, the increases were not statistically significant. The rate of increase of both CASI and MMSE scores in the CEE + MPA group was greater than in the tibolone group, though the difference was not significant.
This preliminary study demonstrated that both CEE + MPA and tibolone can preserve cognitive function and may be able to prevent cognitive decline in postmenopausal women during short-term treatment. Our results also show that continuous, combined CEE + MPA seems to be marginally more effective than tibolone in improving cognitive processes; however, long-term study is needed to follow-up such effect.