Effect of hormone therapy on lean body mass, falls, and fractures: 6-year results from the Women's Health Initiative hormone trials

Menopause, 03/08/2011

Bea JW et al. - Despite early preservation of lean body mass with hormone therapy (HT) at 3 years, HT did not ameliorate long-term (6 years) loss in lean body mass with aging.


  • Participants were randomly divided into groups as follows : either estrogen plus progestogen therapy (n = 543) or control (n = 471) and estrogen therapy alone (n = 453) or control (n = 474).
  • They received dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry scans to estimate body composition during the Women's Health Initiative.
  • Falls and fracture occurrence were obtained by annual self-report.
  • Fractures were confirmed by a clinical chart review.


  • At 6 years post-randomization, lean body mass was not different between HT and control groups.
  • Although lean body mass positively influenced bone mineral density, independent of HT status, the preserved lean body mass observed in the HT arms in the first 3 years did not significantly contribute to models evaluating HT influence on falls and fractures between years 3 and 6.
  • Women taking at least 80% of their medication in the HT arms demonstrated fewer falls compared with placebo; this difference was not attributable to change in lean body mass.

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