Bone mineral density response to estrogen replacement in frail elderly women; A randomized controlled trial

Dennis T. Villareal, Ellen F. Binder, Kevin E. Yarasheski, Daniel B. Williams, Kenneth B. Schechtman, Wendy M. Kohrt, Wendy M. Kohrt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Context: Although hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is an established approach for osteoporosis prevention, little is known about the osteoprotective effects of HRT in frail elderly women. Objective: To determine whether HRT increases bone mineral density (BMD) in frail elderly women. Design and Setting: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted in a US university-based research center from September 1995 to August 2000. Participants: Sixty-seven women aged 75 years or older with mild-to-moderate physical frailty. Intervention: Participants were randomly assigned to receive conjugated estrogens, 0.625 mg/d, plus trimonthly medroxyprogesterone acetate, 5 mg/d for 13 days (n = 45), or matching placebo (n = 22), for 9 months. Main Outcome Measures: The primary outcome measure was 9-month change in BMD of the lumbar spine and hip, measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Secondary outcomes were changes in markers of bone turnover. Results: Based on intention-to-treat analyses, HRT resulted in significantly larger increases in BMD of the lumbar spine than placebo (mean change, 4.3% vs 0.4%; between-group difference, 3.9%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.5%-4.3%) and total hip (mean change, 1.7% vs -0.1%; between-group difference, 1.8%; 95% CI, 1.5%-2.1%). Compared with placebo, HRT resulted in significant decreases in serum bone-specific alkaline phosphatase levels (mean change, -24% vs 6%; between-group difference, -30%; 95% CI, -26% to -33%) and urine N-telopeptide levels (mean change, -48% vs 4%; between-group difference, -52%; 95% CI, -47% to -55%). Conclusions: In physically frail elderly women, 9 months of HRT significantly increased BMD compared with placebo in clinically important skeletal regions. Further studies are needed to determine whether these osteogenic effects of HRT in elderly women are associated with a reduction in osteoporotic fractures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)815-820
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Medical Association
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 15 2001


Dive into the research topics of 'Bone mineral density response to estrogen replacement in frail elderly women; A randomized controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this