Vol. 20 No 2 | Winter 2018
Women's Health -> Journal Club
HRT and depression
Dr Brett Daniels

This article is 6 years old and may no longer reflect current clinical practice.

Had time to read the latest journals? Catch up on some recent research by reading these mini-reviews by Dr Brett Daniels.


Women report an increased incidence of depressive symptoms during the menopause. This study reported a randomised controlled trial of the effect of combined hormone replacement therapy (HRT) on depressive symptoms. 172 peri- or postmenopausal-aged women between 45 and 60 were randomised to receive either continuous transdermal estradiol with intermittent oral progesterone, or placebo. The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) was used to assess symptoms every two months for a year. Women in the HRT group reported significantly less total depression compared to the placebo group. The positive effect of HRT on depression was moderated by other factors. The significant benefit of HRT on mood was seen in women in early menopause, but not in late menopause or postmenopausal women. In addition, women with a greater number of stressful life events in the six months preceding the trial experienced significantly greater benefit to their mood as a result of HRT, compared to women with less stressful events. Although this was a small trial, results provide evidence of additional benefits of HRT for some women.


  1. Gordon JL, Rubinow DR, Eisenlohr-Moul TA, Xia K, Schmidt PJ, Girdler SS. Efficacy of transdermal estradiol and micronized progesterone in the prevention of depressive symptoms in the menopause transition: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Psychiatry. Published online January 10, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.3998.

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