Hormone therapy (HT) is associated with a modest, but significantly increased risk for arterial and venous thromboembolism. We have compared the effects of estrogen, tibolone, and raloxifene on relevant markers of coagulation activation and investigated whether there is a dose-response relationship of oral HT.
Randomized, open-label, comparative study of 202 healthy women who were assigned to receive treatment for 12 weeks with either low-dose hormone therapy containing 1 mg 17beta-estradiol + 0.5 mg norethisterone acetate (NETA) (n=50), conventional-dose HT containing 2 mg 17beta-estradiol and 1 mg NETA (n=50), 2.5 mg tibolone (n=51), or 60 mg raloxifene (n=51).
The groups were comparable with regard to demographic characteristics and laboratory variables at baseline. D-dimer increased markedly in the conventional-dose HT group, but remained unchanged in the low-dose HT group. Tibolone was associated with a medium increase, whereas raloxifene was associated with a decrease in D-dimer levels. Changes in prothrombin fragment 1 + 2 showed a similar pattern for all four groups, whereas no significant differences in changes of thrombin-antithrombin complex were observed.
Our data suggest that low-dose HT is associated with less activation of coagulation than conventional-dose HT. This finding may be of clinical importance since randomized clinical trials showing increased risk of thrombosis have utilized conventional-dose HT.