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Espoo, Finland

Mikkola T.S.,University of Helsinki | Mikkola T.S.,Folkhalsan Research Center | Tuomikoski P.,University of Helsinki | Lyytinen H.,University of Helsinki | And 6 more authors.
Menopause | Year: 2015

Objective: Data on the health benefits and risks of postmenopausal hormone therapy (HT) are derived mainly from the use of conjugated equine estrogens. Estradiol-based regimens may have a different risk-benefit profile. We evaluated the risk of death caused by coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, or any disease among users of estradiol-based HT regimens in a nationwide study in Finland. Methods: A total of 489,105 women who used HT from 1994 to 2009 (3.3 million HT exposure years), as indicated in the nationwide reimbursement register and the national Cause of Death Register, were followed. A total of 28,734 HT users died during follow-up; among the deaths, 3,843 were caused by CHD and 2,464 were caused by stroke. Mortality risk in HT users with varying duration of exposure (≤1 y, >1 to 3 y, >3 to 5 y, >5 to 10 y, or >10 y) was compared with that in an age-matched background population. Results: Risk of CHD death was significantly reduced by 18% to 54% in HT users and was positively related to HT exposure time. Risk of stroke death was also reduced by 18% to 39%, but this reduction was not clearly related to HT exposure time. Risk of all-cause mortality was reduced in HT users by 12% to 38%, almost in linear relationship with duration of exposure. All these risk reductions were comparable in women initiating HT before age 60 years and women initiating HT at age 60 years or older. Conclusions: In absolute terms, the risk reductions mean 19 fewer CHD deaths and 7 fewer stroke deaths per 1,000 women using any HT for at least 10 years. © 2015 by The North American Menopause Society. Source

Savolainen-Peltonen H.,University of Helsinki | Savolainen-Peltonen H.,Folkhalsan Research Center | Tuomikoski P.,University of Helsinki | Korhonen P.,EPID Research Oy | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism | Year: 2016

Context: The window of opportunity hypothesis" refers to data indicating that conjugated equine estrogen alone or in combination with medroxyprogesterone acetate, if initiated before 60 years of age, protects the heart but endangers it if initiated later (Women's Health Initiative study). Less is known about the "window of opportunity hypothesis" with natural estradiol alone (ET) or with various progestins in combination with estradiol (EPT). Objective: We related the death risk from coronary heart disease (CHD) in users of ET or EPT to the age at the initiation of therapy and to the progestin component of EPT. Design, Patients, Interventions, and Main Outcome Measures: Altogether, 498 105 women had used ET or EPT containing medroxyprogesterone acetate, norethisterone acetate, dydrogesterone, other progestins, or tibolone during 3.7 million person-years during 1994-2009. Women were followed from the therapy initiation to death, or to the end of year 2009. The risk of CHD death in hormone users was compared with that in the age-matched background population using standardized mortality ratio with 95% confidence intervals. Results: Age younger than 60 rather than older than 60 years at the initiation of ET (standardized mortality ratio, 0.53; 95% confidence interval, 0.47-0.59 vs 0.76; 0.71-0.82), EPT with norethisterone acetate (0.45; 0.41-0.49 vs 0.74; 0.67-0.81), or tibolone (0.35; 0.26-0.47 vs 1.01; 0.67-1.46) therapy lasting for less than 5 years was associated with significantly greater decreases in the CHD death risk. A similar tendency was also seen for other EPT groups and for longer use. In all hormone users, the CHD death risk was smaller the earlier the use of ET or EPT had started (P <.05); this phenomenon was unrelated to the progestin component of EPT. Conclusions: Estradiol-based hormone therapies are accompanied with larger CHD mortality risk reductions the earlier the therapies are initiated. The progestin component of EPT does not modify this "timing effect. © 2016 by the Endocrine Society. Source

Mikkola T.S.,University of Helsinki | Mikkola T.S.,Folkhalsan Research Center | Tuomikoski P.,University of Helsinki | Tuomikoski P.,Folkhalsan Research Center | And 8 more authors.
Human Reproduction | Year: 2016

STUDY QUESTION Does the use of post-menopausal vaginal estradiol (VE) affect the mortality risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke. SUMMARY ANSWER The use of VE reduces the risk for cardiovascular mortality. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY A growing number of women use VE for post-menopausal genitourinary symptoms. Although this therapy is intended to have only local effects, estrogen is absorbed into the blood circulation and thus VE use may also have systemic effects. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION We studied a nationwide cohort in Finland 1994-2009 during which post-menopausal women (n = 195 756) initiated the use of VE (age [mean ± SD] 65.7 ± 10.9 years). Follow-up data gathered 1.4 million women-years and we assessed the mortality risk due to CHD (n= 9656) or stroke (n = 4294). PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS The mortality risk in VE users was compared with that in the age-matched background population (standardized mortality ratio; [SMR]; 95% confidence interval) and related to various durations of exposure to VE (1 to ≤3, >3 to ≤5, >5 to ≤10 and >10 years). MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE The use of VE was accompanied by decreases in the risk for CHD and stroke death. The risk reduction for CHD death was highest for >3 to ≤5 years exposure (SMR 0.64; 0.57-0.70) and for stroke for >5 to ≤10 years exposure (SMR 0.64; 0.57-0.72). The risk reductions for both CHD and stroke mortality were detected in all age groups with the highest risk reduction being in women aged 50-59 years (SMR 0.43; 0.19-0.88 and SMR 0.21; 0.06-0.58, respectively). LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION Our series lack a placebo arm and thus, may harbor a healthy woman bias. Moreover, data on clinical variables such as weight, smoking, blood pressure and family background were unobtainable for this study. Women using both VE and systemic hormone therapy (HT) were included in the comparator background population. This should not cause any significant error because the proportion of women using VE or other HT was modest (<10% in age-matched population) and because the use of systemic HT also reduces death risks in the same population. Our data cannot be directly applied for local regimens containing conjugated equine estrogens, because they are absorbed differently and may show effects that differ from those of estradiol. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS In 1000 women using VE for up to 10 years, a maximum of 24 fewer CHD deaths and 18 fewer stroke deaths is likely to occur. © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. Source

Mikkola T.S.,University of Helsinki | Mikkola T.S.,Folkhalsan Research Center | Tuomikoski P.,University of Helsinki | Lyytinen H.,EPID Research Oy | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism | Year: 2015

Context: Current guidelines recommend annual discontinuation of postmenopausal hormone therapy (HT) to evaluate whether a woman could manage without the treatment. The impact of HT on cardiovascular health has been widely studied, but it is not known how the withdrawal of HT affects cardiovascular risk. Objective: We evaluated the risk of cardiac or stroke death after the discontinuation of HT. Design, Patients, Interventions, and Main Outcome Measures: Altogether 332 202 Finnish women discontinuing HT between 1994 and 2009 (data from National Reimbursement register) were followed up from the discontinuation date to death due to cardiac cause (n=3177) or stroke (n= 1952), or to the end of 2009. The deaths, retrieved from the national Cause of Death Register, were compared with the expected number of deaths in the age-standardized background population. In a subanalysis we also compared HT stoppers with HT users. Results: Within the first posttreatment year, the risk of cardiac death was significantly elevated (standardized mortality ratio; 95% confidence interval 1.26; 1.16-1.37), whereas follow-up for longer than 1 year was accompanied with a reduction (0.75; 0.72-0.78). The risk of stroke death in the first posttreatment year was increased (1.63; 1.47-1.79), but follow-up for longer than 1 year was accompanied with a reduced risk (0.89; 0.85-0.94). The cardiac (2.30; 2.12-2.50) and stroke (2.52; 2.28-2.77) death risk elevations were even higher when compared with HT users. In women who discontinued HT at age younger than 60 years, but not in women aged 60 years or older, the cardiac mortality risk was elevated (1.94; 1.51-2.48). Conclusions: Increased cardiovascular death risks question the safety of annual HT discontinuation practice to evaluate whether a woman could manage without HT. Copyright © 2015 by the Endocrine Society. Source

Tiihonena J.,University of Eastern Finland | Tiihonena J.,Kuopio University Hospital | Tiihonena J.,National Health Research Institute | Tiihonena J.,Karolinska Institutet | And 7 more authors.
Archives of General Psychiatry | Year: 2012

Context: Polypharmacy is widely used in the treatment of schizophrenia, although it is believed to have major adverse effects on the well-being of patients. Objective: To investigate if the use of benzodiazepines, antidepressants, or multiple concomitant antipsychotics is associated with increased mortality among patients with schizophrenia. Design: Registry-based case linkage study. Setting: Academic research. Patients: We linked national databases of mortality and medication prescriptions among a complete nationwide cohort of 2588 patients hospitalized in Finland for the first time with a diagnosis of schizophrenia between January 1, 2000, and December 31, 2007. Main Outcome Measures: Hazard ratios (HRs) were computed for all-cause mortality during the use of antipsychotics, antidepressants, or benzodiazepines in outpatient care, adjusting for the effects of sociodemographic and clinical variables, geographic location, and current and past pharmacological treatments. Results: Compared with antipsychotic monotherapy, concomitant use of 2 or more antipsychotics was not associated with increased mortality (HR, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.51-1.44). Similarly, antidepressant use was not associated with a higher risk for mortality (HR, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.28-1.16) and was associated with markedly decreased suicide deaths (HR, 0.15; 95% CI, 0.03-0.77). However, benzodiazepine use was associated with a substantial increase in mortality (HR, 1.91; 95% CI, 1.13-3.22), and this was attributable to suicidal deaths (HR, 3.83; 95% CI, 1.45-10.12) and to nonsuicidal deaths (HR, 1.60; 95% CI, 0.86-2.97). In total, 826 of 904 patients (91.4%) who used benzodiazepines had purchased prescriptions that contained more than 28 defined daily doses, violating treatment guidelines. Conclusions: Benzodiazepine use was associated with a marked increase in mortality among patients with schizophrenia, whereas the use of an antidepressant or several concomitant antipsychotics was not. Antidepressant use was associated with decreased suicide deaths. The literature indicates that long-term use of benzodiazepines among patients with schizophrenia is more prevalent in other countries (eg, the United States) compared with Finland, which suggests that benzodiazepine use may contribute to mortality among this patient population worldwide. © 2012 American Medical Association. Source

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