New Treatment for Menopause Symptoms
2-Drug Combo May Reduce Menopause Symptoms While Building Bone
WebMD News Archive
What We Know Right Now
In the first of the two new trials being presented, researchers looked at
the impact of TSEC on the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) in nearly
4,000 women aged 40 to 75 over the course of two years.
The study showed that new cases of endometrial hyperplasia (a thickening of
the lining frequently associated with estrogen therapy and sometimes a
precursor to cancer) were similar to placebo. Moreover, there was also no
increase in bleeding and spotting or breast pain, all common side effects of
In the second study, doctors tested the same TSEC on bone mineral density
(BMD). They found that it yielded a greater increase in bone mineral density of
the spine and hip when compared with placebo or Evista, another SERM.
Menopause Symptom Relief
Though both studies offer promise, perhaps the aspect of TSEC that will
interest most women is the potential improvement of menopausal symptoms --
problems like hot flashes or vaginal dryness.
"Two of the phase III trials looked at hot flushes, and the combination
appears very effective in significantly reducing not only the number, but the
severity," says Pickar. This is significant since SERM medications,
particularly at high doses, often increase hot flashes.
Moreover, he adds that vaginal symptoms such as dryness and thinning also
responded favorably to this TSEC. SERMs alone have no impact on these
Although there have been no specific studies on either the protective
effects or risks of TSEC on heart health, thus far Pickar says no adverse
cardiovascular events have been reported. He adds that the incidence of blood
clots and stroke previously associated with hormone therapy "was not
different than placebo in our two-year trial of TSEC."
A head-to-head study comparing TSEC with HRT is under way with results
expected later this year. Goldstein cautions that there is still much we don't
know about this new approach to treating menopause.
"It could be the answer we have been searching for, but women need to
realize that there are still many questions that need to be answered before we
can say for certain this is a revolutionary treatment option."