CHICAGO — Women past the age of menopause can be treated for high cholesterol with hormone replacement therapy, according to a study published in the American Medical Assn.'s Archives of Internal Medicine.
The study, conducted by doctors from the Chicago Center for Clinical Research, found that women who received a combination of estrogen and the cholesterol drug pravastatin achieved the greatest improvement in cholesterol levels.
"These findings support the position . . . that estrogen, with a progestin where indicated, should be given consideration as a therapeutic option for the management of hypercholesterolemia in post-menopausal women," the researchers wrote in a report released Sunday.
The study found that hormone treatment increased levels of high-density lipoprotein, the "good" cholesterol, and lowered the level of low-density lipoproteins, or "bad" cholesterol.
In women who were treated with a combination of estrogen and pravastatin, the bad cholesterol level was reduced by nearly 29% while the good cholesterol rose by 21%, the study found.
In women treated with estrogen alone, the bad cholesterol level dropped by 13% while the good cholesterol rose by 23%.
Women given only pravastatin showed a 25% drop in bad cholesterol but only a 4% increase in good cholesterol.