Can hormone replacement therapy protect the heart and brain after menopause?

March 14, 2023
A unique therapy may prevent postmenopausal cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline when taken within six years of menopause.

Many are aware of the short-term symptoms often associated with menopause, such as hot flashes, which are attributed to changes in reproductive hormones. However, they may not know that menopause can put heart and brain health at long-term risk.

Now, Keck Medicine of USC has launched a clinical trial to study the effect of a novel hormone replacement therapy on postmenopausal cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline. 

A key aspect of the study is that it is designed for women who are postmenopausal for six years or less.

The hormone therapy being studied has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration since 2013 and consists of estrogen paired with a non-hormone drug known as bazedoxifene.

The clinical trial, titled Advancing Postmenopausal Preventive Therapy, is open to healthy women six years or less post-menopause, who have a uterus, are 45-59 years of age and do not have cardiovascular disease. Upon enrollment, trial participants:

  • Receive an ultrasound of their neck artery that is used as a non-invasive baseline measure of atherosclerosis.
  • Undergo several tests to gauge their baseline cognitive function and memory.

At the end of the study, which lasts approximately three years, women retake the cognitive and memory tests so researchers can determine whether there has been any change since enrollment.

Keck Medicine of USC release