Menopausal hormone therapy and dementia: nationwide, nested case-control study

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Objectives: To assess the association between use of menopausal hormone therapy and development of dementia according to type of hormone treatment, duration of use, and age at usage. Design: Nationwide, nested case-control study. Setting: Denmark through national registries. Participants: 5589 incident cases of dementia and 55 890 age matched controls were identified between 2000 and 2018 from a population of all Danish women aged 50-60 years in 2000 with no history of dementia or contraindications for use of menopausal hormone therapy. Main outcome measures: Adjusted hazard ratios with 95% confidence intervals for all cause dementia defined by a first time diagnosis or first time use of dementia specific medication. Results: Compared with people who had never used treatment, people who had received oestrogen-progestogen therapy had an increased rate of all cause dementia (hazard ratio 1.24 (95% confidence interval 1.17 to 1.33)). Increasing durations of use yielded higher hazard ratios, ranging from 1.21 (1.09 to 1.35) for one year or less of use to 1.74 (1.45 to 2.10) for more than 12 years of use. Oestrogen-progestogen therapy was positively associated with development of dementia for both continuous (1.31 (1.18 to 1.46)) and cyclic (1.24 (1.13 to 1.35)) regimens. Associations persisted in women who received treatment at the age 55 years or younger (1.24 (1.11 to 1.40)). Findings persisted when restricted to late onset dementia (1.21 (1.12 to 1.30)) and Alzheimer's disease (1.22 (1.07 to 1.39)). Conclusions: Menopausal hormone therapy was positively associated with development of all cause dementia and Alzheimer's disease, even in women who received treatment at the age of 55 years or younger. The increased rate of dementia was similar between continuous and cyclic treatment. Further studies are warranted to determine whether these findings represent an actual effect of menopausal hormone therapy on dementia risk, or whether they reflect an underlying predisposition in women in need of these treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere072770
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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