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Conjugated Estrogens in the Treatment of Postmenopausal Women with Hyperparathyroidism

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Grant support: by the National Institutes of Health, grant no. AG01312.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Robert Marcus, M.D.; Geriatrics Research Education and Clinical Center 182-B, Veterans Administration Medical Center, 3801 Miranda Avenue; Palo Alto, CA 94304.

Palo Alto, Stanford, and San Francisco, California

Ann Intern Med. 1984;100(5):633-640. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-100-5-633
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Fourteen postmenopausal women with mild hyperparathyroidism were given conjugated estrogens. Serum calcium levels became normal and urinary calcium excretion was reduced for up to 2 years in ten patients taking an average dose of 1.25 mg of estrogen daily. Hypercalcemia returned quickly when therapy was interrupted. Estrogen did not systematically alter serum immunoreactive parathyroid hormone or calcitriol levels or urinary excretion of cyclic adenosine monophosphate. Significant reductions in urinary hydroxyproline and serum alkaline phosphatase activity during estrogen therapy indicate that the major effect of therapy was to decrease bone turnover. Iliac crest biopsy specimens taken before estrogen therapy showed normal trabecular bone volume and excessive osteoid seams. Follow-up biopsy specimens were taken from six patients after 1 year on therapy. Bone volume remained stable, but hyperosteoidosis had improved in only one patient. Without understanding the long-term impact of untreated mild hyperparathyroidism on bone, the benefits of estrogen therapy on bone remain uncertain. However, therapy with conjugated estrogens provides sustained control of serum and urine calcium in most women with hyperparathyroidism and is a reasonable alternative in patients who are not surgical candidates.





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