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Study of menopausal women finds no benefit from hormone therapy and antioxidant vitamins

A study sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health found that postmenopausal women with heart disease who took hormone therapy and high dose antioxidant vitamins either alone or in combination with hormones did not have fewer heart attacks, deaths, or progression of coronary disease. In fact, both treatments showed a potential for harm. Although the actual numbers of deaths in the study were small, participants taking both active hormones and vitamins had the highest death rate while participants on placebo versions of both treatments had the lowest death rate.

Furthermore, participants taking hormones and vitamins had either more or equal progression of their coronary disease compared to participants taking placebo versions of these treatments.

The results of the Women's Angiographic Vitamin and Estrogen (WAVE) trial will be published in the November 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association and presented November 20 at the American Heart Association's annual meeting in Chicago.

"This study adds to the growing body of evidence that hormone therapy is not helpful in the treatment or in the prevention -- of heart disease and it provides new information on the absence of benefit from high-dose antioxidant vitamins," said NHLBI Director Claude Lenfant, M.D.

WAVE, which studied 423 postmenopausal women at 7 clinical centers in the U.S. and Canada, is the largest trial to use angiography (a special x-ray technique which shows blockages in the blood vessels of the heart) to assess the effects of hormone replacement therapy. It is also the first angiographic trial to look at antioxidants high dose vitamins E and C in conjunction with hormone therapy. The vitamin doses in the WAVE study were much higher than what is used in standard multi-vitamin preparations.

"Although some other studies with lower doses of vitamins have suggested that antioxidant vi
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Contact: NHLBI Communications Office
301-496-4236
NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
19-Nov-2002


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