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Transdermal Estradiol May Help Prevent Depressive Symptoms

THURSDAY, Jan. 11, 2018 -- Transdermal estradiol (TE) plus intermittent micronized progesterone (IMP) can prevent clinically significant depressive symptoms among euthymic perimenopausal and early postmenopausal women, according to a study published online Jan. 10 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Jennifer L. Gordon, Ph.D., from the University of Regina in Canada, and colleagues conducted a randomized trial involving euthymic perimenopausal and early postmenopausal women aged 45 to 60 years. Participants were randomized to 12 months of TE or transdermal placebo. Women receiving TE also received micronized progesterone every three months; women receiving placebo were given identical placebo pills.

The researchers found that, compared with women receiving TE+IMP, those assigned to placebo were more likely to score at least 16 on the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D), indicating clinically significant depressive symptoms, at least once during the intervention phase (32.3 versus 17.3 percent; odds ratio, 2.5); they also had a higher mean CES-D score across the intervention period. The effect of treatment was moderated by baseline reproductive stage, with the mood benefits of TE+IMP versus placebo seen among women in the early menopause transition but not those in the late menopause transition or among postmenopausal women.

"Twelve months of TE+IMP were more effective than placebo in preventing the development of clinically significant depressive symptoms among initially euthymic perimenopausal and early postmenopausal women," the authors write.

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Posted: January 2018