Postmenopausal Hormone Therapy Linked to Acute Pancreatitis — Physician’s First Watch
Postmenopausal Hormone Therapy Linked to Acute Pancreatitis
By Amy Orciari Herman
Postmenopausal women who use systemic hormone therapy face increased risk for acute pancreatitis, according to a prospective study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Over 31,000 postmenopausal women in Sweden reported on whether they'd ever used hormone therapy and then were followed for roughly 13 years. During that time, 237 developed acute pancreatitis. After multivariable adjustment, those who'd used hormone therapy had a significantly increased risk for pancreatitis, relative to those who'd never taken hormones. The risk increase was largely limited to those who'd used systemic (rather than local) hormone therapy (relative risk, 1.92).
The authors conclude that "physicians should consider this potential increase in risk" when prescribing hormone therapy. Andrew Kaunitz, an OB-GYN with NEJM Journal Watch, notes: "Use of oral estrogen raises triglycerides; in susceptible women, this can lead to an elevated risk for pancreatitis. In contrast with oral estrogen, transdermal estradiol does not increase triglycerides. Unfortunately, this study did not distinguish oral from transdermal estrogen therapy."