Women on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) are not at a greater risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA), says a new study.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is more predominant in women, and there has been conflicting reports about whether or not HRT increased a woman's risk of developing RA.
Now, using data from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) clinical trials on HRT, researchers led by Brian Walitt of Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC, have found that women on HRT are not at an increased risk of developing RA or facing a higher severity of RA than postmenopausal women not on the therapy.
The researchers analysed random controlled trials that included over 27,000 postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 and 79 who took estrogen and progestin, estrogen alone or a placebo.
There were no statistically significant differences on either new RA cases over an average of five to six years or on the severity of RA symptoms after one year.
The current study found no significant protective benefit from hormones in preventing RA.
"Despite the participation of 27,347 women, there was no statistically significant evidence of a difference in the hazard of RA incidence or a difference in RA symptom severity between the PHT and placebo groups," the authors concluded.
The study appears in the March issue of Arthritis Care & Research.