Endometrial safety after 5 years of continuous combined transdermal estrogen and intrauterine levonorgestrel delivery for postmenopausal hormone substitution
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Maturitas: journal of the climacteric and postmenopause. - Limerick
, p. 205-209
University of Antwerp
Objective To investigate endometrial histology and thickness of the endometrium after long-term use of continuous transdermal estrogen substitution combined with intrauterine release of levonorgestrel (LNG) in postmenopausal women. Design A 5-year non-comparative prospective clinical trial. Subjects Out of 182 symptomatic postmenopausal women using estrogen substitution therapy (EST) combined with a novel T-shaped LNG-releasing intrauterine system (Femilis Slim LNG-IUS), to prevent endometrial proliferation and bleeding, only those women (n = 102) who used two consecutive LNG-IUSs, were isolated with the aim to study the long-term effects on the endometrium. The mean age of the women was 57 years (range 4771). The majority of women received percutaneous 17β estradiol, 1.5 mg daily, or an equivalent dose by patch or orally, on a continuous basis. Main outcome measures Endometrial histology and ultrasonographic evidence of endometrial suppression, after a period of approximately 5 years of use. The mean duration of use of the regimen was 70 months (range 2598). Results The dominant endometrial histologic picture was that of inactive endometrium characterized by glandular atrophy and stroma decidualization (Kurman classification 5b). No cases of endometrial hyperplasia were found. On transvaginal ultrasound, this corresponds with a thin endometrium (≤5 mm). Conclusion The results of this 5-year study in 102 postmenopausal women using EST demonstrates that the LNG-IUS effectively opposes the estrogenic effect on the endometrium resulting in strong suppression during the entire period of EST. Due to its high efficacy and absence of systemic effects on organ tissues (e.g., breasts), target delivery in the uterine cavity could be a preferred route to administer a progestagen in women using EST.