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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 45

of 'Preparations for menopausal hormone therapy'

A randomized comparison of continuous combined transdermal delivery of estradiol-norethindrone acetate and estradiol alone for menopause. CombiPatch Study Group.
Archer DF, Furst K, Tipping D, Dain MP, Vandepol C
Obstet Gynecol. 1999;94(4):498.
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether a continuous estradiol-norethindrone acetate transdermal delivery system reduces incidence of endometrial hyperplasia in postmenopausal women more than transdermal estradiol (E2) alone.
METHODS: Six hundred twenty-five postmenopausal women were assigned randomly to one of four treatments, transdermal E2 50 microg/day, or transdermal E2-norethindrone acetate with 50 microg E2 and 140, 250, or 400 microg/day of norethindrone acetate. Follow-up visits to collect information on safety and efficacy were scheduled at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after initiation of treatment. Endometrial biopsy for histologic evaluation was done at baseline and upon exit from the study (completion or withdrawal). Endometrial histology was evaluated by two independent gynecologic pathologists. In the event of a disparate reading, a third gynecologic pathologist evaluated the tissue using predetermined criteria.
RESULTS: Endometrial hyperplasia was found in 37.9% (39 of 103) in the E2 alone group versus 0.8% (one of 123), 1% (one of 98), and 1.1% (one of 89) in the E2-norethindrone acetate 50-140, 50-250, and 50-400 groups, respectively (P<.001). Uterine bleeding was less frequent in the E2-norethindrone acetate 50-140 group than other treatments. The mean number of hot flushes per day decreased to less than one in each treatment group at endpoint. The E2-norethindrone acetate combination patch showed skin tolerance comparable to that of E2 alone.
CONCLUSION: Continuous transdermal delivery of E2 combined with norethindrone acetate effectively prevented endometrial hyperplasia in healthy postmenopausal women. Continuous combined transdermal delivery systems provide increased dosing flexibility and might improve convenience and compliance with hormone replacement therapy.
Clinical Research Center, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk 23507-1627, USA. archerdf@evms.edu