Systemic Hormone Therapy During Menopause May Increase Risk for Depression

Initiating systemic hormone therapy before age 50 years linked to increased risk for depression.

HealthDay News Systemically administered hormone therapy (HT) during menopause is associated with a higher risk for depression, according to a study published online Nov. 1 in JAMA Network Open.

Marie K. Wium-Andersen, M.D., Ph.D., from Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospitals in Denmark, and colleagues examined whether use of HT during menopause was associated with a subsequent diagnosis of depression using data from 825,238 women in Denmark (followed from 45 years to a mean 56 years of age).

The researchers found that systemically administered HT was associated with a higher risk for a subsequent depression diagnosis (hazard ratio [HR] for women 48 to 50 years of age, 1.50; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.24 to 1.81). Even higher risk was seen in the year after initiation for treatment with estrogen alone (HR, 2.03; 95 percent CI, 1.21 to 3.41) or estrogen combined with progestin (HR, 2.01; 95 percent CI, 1.26 to 3.21). Depression risk was not significantly elevated with locally administered HT (HR, 1.15; 95 percent CI, 0.70 to 1.87). However, when initiated after 54 years of age, locally administered HT was associated with a lower risk for depression (HR for women 54 to 60 years of age, 0.80; 95 percent CI, 0.70 to 0.91).

“These findings suggest that women undergoing menopause who initiate systemically administered HT should be aware of depression as a potential adverse effect, and locally administered HT should be recommended when needed,” the authors write.

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