CHICAGO – Almost 40% of women report sleep problems in midlife, and since hormone therapy benefits sleep, cessation of that therapy might have the opposite effect. A study of 1,704 women from the Group Health Research Institute of Seattle confirms that it does.
“Sleep problems were related to the suspension of hormone therapy for 1 or 2 months,” investigator Sarah E. Tom, Ph.D., formerly of the institute, said of the study's findings. “Women who are discontinuing hormone therapy may benefit from alternative sleep management strategies immediately following discontinuation.”
This was a secondary analysis of data from the READ study (Radiological Evaluation and Breast Density), a trial designed to test whether short-term suspension of hormone therapy (HT) resulted in better screening mammography performance. The trial recruited women aged 45-80 years from Group Health, a nonprofit health care system based in Washington state. The recruits were due for a screening mammography, and reported on use of HT for 2 years. They were randomized to continue HT or to suspend it for either 1 or 2 months prior to mammography.
The survey used a questionnaire that asked about the number of days subjects had various sleep complaints, including trouble falling asleep and waking while sleeping. Of the 1,704 women, 1,405 had complete information on confounding variables. Of this group, 518 were randomized to continue HT, 452 to suspend therapy for 1 month, and 435 to suspend it for 2 months. Sleep problems were comparable in the groups suspending HT for 1 month or 2 months.
“For the group randomized to a 2-month suspension, they had an increase of about 0.7 days with trouble with their sleep, compared to women who were randomized to continue hormone therapy,” Dr. Tom said. Waking while sleeping was one of the most frequently reported problems, she said, and about 35% of women in the two hormone cessation groups reported using sleep aids in the previous week.
The trial was sponsored by the Department of Defense, the National Institute on Aging, and the nonprofit Group Health Research Institute.
Waking while sleeping was one of the most frequently reported problems.
Source DR. TOM