Background Cardiovascular disease caused by atherosclerosis is the largest single killer of women. Prior observational data had suggested that hormone therapy may have cardioprotective effects. Methods Data from clinical trials and basic science studies were evaluated to assess the cardiovascular effects of hormone therapy and selective estrogen replacement modulators. Results Hormone therapy does not appear to lower the risk of cardiovascular events in older postmenopausal women. Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMS) have been approved for human use; tamoxifen is used for treatment and prevention of breast cancer and raloxifene is used for the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. Raloxifene is the only SERM being specifically studied for its effects on coronary heart disease events in a prospective, randomized, controlled trial. Conclusions Although raloxifene does increase venous thromboembolic events, there is suggestive data that it may have favorable effects on the arterial systems in women. Only compelling positive data from the Raloxifene Use for The Heart (RUTH) trial will lead to greater use of SERMS to potentially lower the risk of atherosclerotic vascular disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine