TUESDAY, Feb. 15, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- For postmenopausal women, estrogen supplementation is associated with a reduced risk for dying from COVID-19, according to a study published online Feb. 14 in BMJ Open.
Malin Sund, M.D., Ph.D., from the Umeå University Faculty of Medicine in Sweden, and colleagues conducted a nationwide registry-based study in Sweden involving individuals who tested positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 to examine whether augmentation of estrogen reduces the risk for death for postmenopausal women. Data were included for 14,685 women aged 50 to 80 years: 227 with previously diagnosed breast cancer receiving endocrine therapy (decreased systemic estrogen levels: group 1); 2,535 receiving hormone replacement therapy (increased systemic estrogen levels: group 2); and 11,923 women in a control group (postmenopausal estrogen levels).
The researchers found that the odds ratios for death following COVID-19 were 2.35 and 0.45 for groups 1 and 2, respectively, in unadjusted analyses. After adjustment, the odds ratio for death only remained significant for group 2 (odds ratio, 0.47). The absolute risk for death was 4.6, 10.1, and 2.1 percent for the control group and groups 1 and 2, respectively. Significant associations were seen for the risk for death due to COVID-19 with age (odds ratio, 1.15), annual income (odds ratios, 2.79, 2.43, and 1.63 for poorest, poor, and middle, respectively), education (primary, 1.4), and the weighted Charlson Comorbidity Index (1.13).
"Drugs increasing estrogen levels may have a role in therapeutic efforts to alleviate COVID-19 severity in postmenopausal women and could be studied in randomized control trials," the authors write.