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Postmenopausal hormone therapy and risk of stroke: A pooled analysis of data from population-based cohort studies.
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2017 (English)In: PLoS Medicine, ISSN 1549-1277, E-ISSN 1549-1676, Vol. 14, no 11, article id e1002445Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: Recent research indicates a favourable influence of postmenopausal hormone therapy (HT) if initiated early, but not late, on subclinical atherosclerosis. However, the clinical relevance of timing of HT initiation for hard end points such as stroke remains to be determined. Further, no previous research has considered the timing of initiation of HT in relation to haemorrhagic stroke risk. The importance of the route of administration, type, active ingredient, and duration of HT for stroke risk is also unclear. We aimed to assess the association between HT and risk of stroke, considering the timing of initiation, route of administration, type, active ingredient, and duration of HT.

METHODS AND FINDINGS: Data on HT use reported by the participants in 5 population-based Swedish cohort studies, with baseline investigations performed during the period 1987-2002, were combined in this observational study. In total, 88,914 postmenopausal women who reported data on HT use and had no previous cardiovascular disease diagnosis were included. Incident events of stroke (ischaemic, haemorrhagic, or unspecified) and haemorrhagic stroke were identified from national population registers. Laplace regression was employed to assess crude and multivariable-adjusted associations between HT and stroke risk by estimating percentile differences (PDs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). The fifth and first PDs were calculated for stroke and haemorrhagic stroke, respectively. Crude models were adjusted for age at baseline only. The final adjusted models included age at baseline, level of education, smoking status, body mass index, level of physical activity, and age at menopause onset. Additional variables evaluated for potential confounding were type of menopause, parity, use of oral contraceptives, alcohol consumption, hypertension, dyslipidaemia, diabetes, family history of cardiovascular disease, and cohort. During a median follow-up of 14.3 years, 6,371 first-time stroke events were recorded; of these, 1,080 were haemorrhagic. Following multivariable adjustment, early initiation (<5 years since menopause onset) of HT was associated with a longer stroke-free period than never use (fifth PD, 1.00 years; 95% CI 0.42 to 1.57), but there was no significant extension to the time period free of haemorrhagic stroke (first PD, 1.52 years; 95% CI -0.32 to 3.37). When considering timing as a continuous variable, the stroke-free and the haemorrhagic stroke-free periods were maximal if HT was initiated approximately 0-5 years from the onset of menopause. If single conjugated equine oestrogen HT was used, late initiation of HT was associated with a shorter stroke-free (fifth PD, -4.41 years; 95% CI -7.14 to -1.68) and haemorrhagic stroke-free (first PD, -9.51 years; 95% CI -12.77 to -6.24) period than never use. Combined HT when initiated late was significantly associated with a shorter haemorrhagic stroke-free period (first PD, -1.97 years; 95% CI -3.81 to -0.13), but not with a shorter stroke-free period (fifth PD, -1.21 years; 95% CI -3.11 to 0.68) than never use. Given the observational nature of this study, the possibility of uncontrolled confounding cannot be excluded. Further, immortal time bias, also related to the observational design, cannot be ruled out.

CONCLUSIONS: When initiated early in relation to menopause onset, HT was not associated with increased risk of incident stroke, regardless of the route of administration, type of HT, active ingredient, and duration. Generally, these findings held also for haemorrhagic stroke. Our results suggest that the initiation of HT 0-5 years after menopause onset, as compared to never use, is associated with a decreased risk of stroke and haemorrhagic stroke. Late initiation was associated with elevated risks of stroke and haemorrhagic stroke when conjugated equine oestrogen was used as single therapy. Late initiation of combined HT was associated with haemorrhagic stroke risk.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 14, no 11, article id e1002445
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Medical and Health Sciences
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-337231DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1002445PubMedID: 29149179OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-337231DiVA, id: diva2:1168641
Available from: 2017-12-21 Created: 2017-12-21 Last updated: 2017-12-21

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